Saying Goodbye to Someone with a Mental Illness

Pretty much weekly I get messages from people who are desperate to help a loved one with a mental illness. I hear versions of this story over and over, my child/parent/sibling/friend/spouse is sick and won’t get help for their mental illness. They say they would rather be in jail than be on medication for their mental illness. They can’t take care of themselves and they are going to end up on the street. Their behavior is destroying our family/relationship. Their behavior is destroying them.

Believe me, I get it. I really, really do. And sometimes you have to accept not everyone with a mental illness will get help. Sometimes you have to say goodbye to a person with a mental illness. Sometimes you have to cut a person with mental illness out of your life.

I’m Related to Mental Illness

Like many of us I’m related to a lot of mentally ill people. There are at least a couple of bipolars and likely a schizophrenic or two hiding in the wings. There have been enough illegal drugs to fuel a Columbian cartel and enough alcohol to float an ark. There have been suicide attempts, hospitalizations and crazy, abusive behavior galore.

Believe me, I get it.

And I don’t have a relationship with any of these mentally ill people. Not one of them are stable or three-dimensional. Not one of them gets help, follows a regimen, admits to the mental illness, or tries to get better.

That’s just the way the cookies crumbles folks.

Mental Illness Isn’t Fair to the Ill or Those Around Them

And my brother, the one I grew up with, the one who I remember with white-blond hair, the one that would sleep under the covers and wake with rosy cheeks, the one that had Winnie-the-Pooh fuzzy pajamas with booties, is mentally ill.

Dead End for RelationshipI remember playing video games, I remember playing on the lawn, I remember how he screamed when he broke his arm, I remember how thrilled he was when he got a remote-controlled car for Christmas, and I remember the way he used to twirl his hair around his finger so it was always in knots.

But we all grow up.

And now he is an abusive, destructive force that no one can stand to be around lest they get pulled into convincing delusions and psychoses or have to fear his violent rage. Being in the same room with him is like being hit repeatedly with a hard, blunt abject. A drunken, hard, blunt object. It only feels good when you stop.

He’s sick. I know he’s sick. Everyone knows he’s sick. Everyone knows he’s mentally ill and an addict.

Except him. To him it’s the world that’s wrong.

The Reality of Mental Illness is Horrific

This mental illness reality is unbearably painful as it will shortly result in his having nowhere to live. I don’t know if he will have any friends. I don’t know if he’ll have enough food to eat. I don’t know whether he’ll even live to tell the tale.

So you see, I get it. I don’t just willy-nilly tell people to distance themselves from intractable crazy for no reason, I tell them this because they need to be told. I’m not mean, uncaring, inflexible, unhelpful or cruel. I’m telling people to save themselves from the gosh darn Titanic. Stop arranging the desk chairs and get on a damn lifeboat.

People who won’t get treatment and continue to hurt you are the Titanic. Period.

Sometimes You Have to Say Goodbye to Someone with a Mental Illness

As I write this I weep for my brother. I weep for his pain. I weep for what he’s going through. I weep for what I know drives him to his behavior. I weep for his mentally ill brain.

And I weep for me. Because the white-haired boy hiding under the covers is gone. And there’s nothing I can do to bring him back.

I’ve written a second part to this article: When You Leave Someone with a Mental Illness

  1. I am 51 and have a mother who is 72. Whenever anything adverse comes up in her life she decides “she can’t cope” and goes on a bender. This is to the point where the ONLY thing that will make her even remotely become someone that anyone can live with is to move in with her and take care of her 24/7, doing every little thing for her, and I mean every little thing. Then poof, she’s fine. She did this when our father died twenty years ago, she’s pulled it to some degree or other over the years and now she is undergoing chemo for ovarian cancer (they removed tumor and found no evidence of anything remaining, chemo is just an insurance policy). Boy oh boy is she using this situation to control and destroy us. I have had psychiatrists tell me she is everything from OCD to Pure O, to having Narcissistic Personality Disorder. She’s been locked up in the psych ward where she blamed others for her being there. My doctor told me to walk away. I am a person who is married with two kids and he told me we are better off if I walked. He is right. I have not just my own sanity to consider, but my children’s as well.

    Make no mistake. This woman knows what she’s doing. She’s sitting on a huge nest egg that my father left her when he died, yet she constantly tries to pull the “I’m going to be homeless” bull crap on us to try to get one of us to take her in and take care of all her needs. My brother tends to be an enabler and that’s his life he’s screwing up. All I can do is tell him he’s enabling the situation and that I’m concerned for HIS mental health.

    So now he’s handling her chemo and every other little aspect of her life that all her doctors have told us and her that she can handle by herself. I have walked away. None of you have any right to judge me on this decision. I am doing what PhDs have told me is my only option. Sometimes you have to go this route. It makes no sense to let the mentally ill person destroy not only their lives but yours as well.

  2. ” He’s sick. I know he’s sick. Everyone knows he’s sick. Everyone knows he’s mentally ill and an addict.
    Except him. To him it’s the world that’s wrong.”

    but that’s precisely the point. he is mentally ill thus his reality is warped and you cant blame the mentally ill person for having an incorrect perception of reality. It’s like blaming the crippled for not being able to walk.

    that being said, this article shows us why so many mentally ill people end up homeless, behind bars or dead. really sad.

  3. I really don’t know what to say to you, I have traumatic brain Injury. Tbi. I did not want this to happen. I have looked and got some kind of help over 2 years . My medical file is so thick. It should be as a 80 year old patients file. But I will say this. My family turned in me called me a drug addict . Said really bad things like you did. They never knew I was searching. All they could say was how bad I was. I had to turn my back on my family and hate them for not reading and trying to understand. All I was doing was fixing a motor cycle and trading it to a car for my daughter. I am a single parent and a mother who gives her child every thing. So my be dear Abby you don’t know if there looking for help. We don’t have a contagious disease. We are just stero typed. I don’t drink I don’t do drugs I don’t do any of that crap. I just have TBI . But I think you would not be some one I would befriend with
    Your more concerned with your feelings then the people you know with a mental illness who always get rejected. I think may be you should reconsider your prideful self. Put on some dirty clothes and walk down your streets I you will know how rejection feels like. I feel it every day so I don’t bother to leave my house because if people like you who want to cut the mentally ill out of your life. And Shame on you for telling thing on your brother. Just to squeeze a year out for your own pittie. You know there is s mental illness for that to it called personality disorder. There are 4 kinds and you my dear fit the 4 th one. You are a attention seeker
    Who will dwell on other people’s problems. Till you some how receive the attention you do crave. So be careful about who you cut out of your life. It may be the very people who help you. When your illness shows. I spotted it right off . Cause people like us have a heart. And want everyone to have everything.

  4. Some of them are also a little inane — surley by the amount of articles you’ve written. For instnace saying goodbye to a person with mental illness that’s just fantasy (if they’re your parents/child). I don’t see how you can ‘weep for your brother and his ‘mentally ill brain” (which btw that’s a lovely way to refer to someone else because in case you didn’t one ie their personality Is (their brain)) when you have a mentally ill brain ie to refer to him like that.

  5. I see you have bipolar too and sound weird but looking at (studying) your face you don’t seem that bad. But my god do I disagree with many of the ideas you have ie the articles on this website. I’ve been in the system and spoken to many patients – medication is fucking nothing (but badness), a lot of the help is just terrible (countless examples).

  6. I had to recently let my best friend of 15 years go after he was getting divorced. As a bipolar person myself it became too difficult to deal with and I was in a manic episode. Now I really have just a couple friends left, although distant. On the flip side after being divorced and single for the past ten years, I meet someone and it’s self defeating, “I can’t subject anyone to me,” “what will she do when I do go through some sort of episode, probably drunk and say something stupid? I can’t even accept good things when they DO happen, and apparently even though I can relate, I can’t be a good friend to someone else’s own breakdowns. I’ve learned being alone, I have no one to argue with, no drama, except for my own creations. I have let others go for them being sorta’ like me, so how can I expect anyone else to tolerate my bullshit?

  7. Pingback: I didn’t just walk away | This was not part of my plan

  8. My boyfriend had three manic episodes. One when he was 20, the second when he was 38 and the third just a few months ago at the age of 41. I am sure that he had many ups and downs in between. But he didn’t tell me that he had bipolar disorder when we met. (We met inbetween the 38 and 41 episode). He has finally accepted his illness. After a two month manic episode and running all over the state with me desperately trying to find him and have him hospitalized. In the 4rth hospital stay (in 2 months! the hospitals kept releasing him!!!), he received the invega sustenna shot. He is stable, medicated and in therapy. He lost his job. He has no money and ended up in a homeless shelter for a week. You see, during this manic episode, he attacked me. Threw furniture around the room, a soda at my head and scared my 12 year old to death. We ran out of the house at 2 am in the morning, headed to the neighbors and called 911. I can’t let him back in my house because my 12 year old is traumatized. He is remorseful. He is accepting his illness. He is compliant with medical care and regime.

    Is there hope for us? I care about him but sometimes, I look at him and I wonder why I fell in love with him in the first place. The man I loved is still not there. He is weak. He is sad. He has lost his confidence. He is like a baby. Part of me wants to help him so badly so that he can one day be the man that he was. The other part of me says that I need to leave him and never look back. I don’t know if my 12 year old will ever accept that he is no longer manic or that he is not dangerous. That night was the scariest of our lives. He looked possessed.

    What advice do you have for me? Do I stick it out? Can he be helped? or is this going to just keep happening over and over again? If I leave him now, in this state, after just a month after being released from his last hospital stay, what will happen to him? Can he recover without me by his side? He has no one. His family has deserted him. His friends will not open their doors to him. They are tired of his illness. They do not want to help him because he never accepted it in the past. Will he stop accepting it again?

  9. My father has had problems for three years now. He has all the signs of a schizophrenic just like his cousin larry but was only diagnosed for depression and bi polar. He takes two pills in the morning and seroquil to sleep at night. He just recently chased my mother away with his violent threats and now im stuck with him. He thinks that the voices he hears in his head are religious figures and he believes himself to be a psychic.

    I have no idea what to do. If he cant get coffee or cigars he gets violent and starts throwing things around and yelling. When i tell him im not gonna deal with that behavior he asks me where am I gonna go then, knowing that I have been unemployed since his first diagnosis. I am 34 years old and would like to finish my courses since I only need 1 credit to graduate but I have to spend my time doing everything for him. Even when he was mentally healthy he left everything up tp my mom now he is doing it with me. I miss my mother but she says she will never return. I almost feel like killing myself as a way out. That way my mom would get some insurance money and be okay for a while. I am taking a hatred to my father a serious one and if he gets in my face again I might do something like stab him up. Im gonna try to dump him off on his mother since we cant pay the bills fully here without my mother. Im completely screwed and sorry to say but suicide is looking better everyday. I really hate this situation I am in.

  10. This may be totally off the subject but I am totally desperate. My boyfriend has got combat related PTSD and my daughter is borderline personality, Bi polar, GAD, self harmer, and ADHD. I am constantly in the middle of their disagreements. My boyfriend refuses to get help although he acknowledges he has PTSD and I have been on a 4 year (the same amount of years I have been with my boyfriend) rollercoaster ride with my 16 year…with Psychiatrists, therapists, psychologists, two suicide attempts, self harming, some drug abuse, in patient hospitalizations too numerous to count. I advocate with teachers, coaches, counselors, anyone involved in her schooling process and am myself on FMLA due to all the time I have to take off for dr visits, hospitalizations, etc. I had a nervous breakdown a little over a year ago and was hospitalized for 5 days…It almost felt like a vacation because I was away from all the discord and stress. I have gone from a very fit, energetic woman who took care of myself and prided myself for my health and youthful look for being 43…Lately I cant even function…I am constantly getting phone calls or texts for something or other involving something my daughter was involved in. She actually assaulted me last week. I need a break and her father is not equipped nor does he believe in mental illness so that is not really an option. Between these 2 people I loves conditions, I feel I may have another breakdown and not truly recover this time. Any suggestions? I am desperate.

  11. I work as a nurse full time and have bipolar 2 diagnosed in 2012….I have had various mood stabilisers over the years without a mental health diagnosis..I have been ostracised by my family and am thankful I have as most of them are sicker than me…but only one sister realises she has mental health problems…she too stays away from the family dynamics as they are so toxic…I firmly believe with the right medication/support of mental health services/supportive friends and avoiding stress from mentally ill family members who are in denial then I can work as a nurse full time…pay my own way in life and have satisfactory social support through friends…I come from a very abusive childhood and a narcissistic mother and there is a lot of mental illhealth in my extended family…including 5 suicides…It is possible to lead a productive fullfilling and even happy life with bipolar 2

    • Teresa, good for you! Glad to hear you’re living a productive and fulfilling life. My only suggestion is stop labelling yourself. It seems like you came from an unhealthy environment and distancing yourself from that is what works. Don’t let your past define who you are. Don’t allow doctors to dictate your future personality, behavior and moods. That being said, if you like taking drugs and you feel that you’re accomplishing all your goals and dreams by taking drugs, then go for it! Do what works for you. Don’t let anyone define who you are!

  12. I see people have a strong opinion about the mentally ill so do I as I have had problems since childhood depression bipolar ptsd just to name a few words thrown around about me from the normal people I too see the pain and distruckshon I have left behind that is why I have not seen or talked to my child since she was a few months old I have been actively trying to get better for her and me it has been over 7 years and I am not close to my goal at all and I think back on my youth and I think how awesome it could have been if I was just permitted to die from one of my multiple suicide attempts but I have continually been resesitated and brought back and I try to seek a legal way to die too insure I won’t be resesitated I find out if you have a life long life altering mental illness you don’t qualify for death with dignaty in or and wa so what are wee to do we can’t eavin kill our selves legally but little girls under 18 can have abortions all day long and kill unborn babies this world is such a big pile of dog poo no wonder America is spit on in other country’s you are all pretty selfish expecially when it comes to others rights to live or die if I have the right to hall off and comit adultery and distroy the lives of everyone around you then expect that a large number of people will kill them selves just because they don’t want to live in a world where you have no defense from people who willingly use people and thear kindness to advance them selves in life and at the same time turn on that very person until that is stopped the world will be filled with hatred of one another. So if I want to die for any reason I should have a legal right to do so if I want to die to feel what it is like to die that should be allowed Maby I belive in reincarnation and I don’t like anything that is happening in the world I should be able to be a good life worrier and die for a chance at a better life in the future potintial good world we are all hoping for.

  13. My husband is just in the midst of what I would say was a severe manic episode from his bipolar… the minute he told me “I quit taking my medication and for the first time I am thinking more clearly” I knew what was going to happen. From the day he went off the lithium, I should have walked out the door.

    Several weeks later he asked for a divorce, and it’s been hell since. He’s gone now.. but I am going to pray, wait, and try to be patient to see if he will go back on lithium. If he wants a divorce, I will let him go, but I need to know he is mentally stable first. He was feeding the mania with marijuana and alcohol, he’s out of all his resources now, and am hoping he will crash and see he was manic.

    If he does not go back on meds, and quit with the drug use, I will walk away, from all of it. The house, the life we shared. His last manic episode was devastating, and this one was even worse because both of the kids had seen it. I can not continue mentally or emotionally like this, nor can I continue to support someone who blamed me for EVERYTHING. The verbal abuse and tirades were enough to almost break me; and I’ve held his hand through ETC, suicide attempt, mania, depression, job loss psychosis. If he was taking his meds and still had an episode it would have been very different, but he made the choice to quit taking lithium, to start using drugs and alcohol. That to me is abuse to those around him who have to suffer while he moves in next door and stays up all night carousing the streets, selling things and buying more drugs.; only to come home and eat cause he has no food anywhere else.

    I am heartbroken, and feel exhausted. It’s not his fault he is ill, but it is his responsibility to manage. He decided the responsibility was too much.

    • This sounds devastating. Sorry for all your distress. Although some people who have been diagnosed bipolar can manage off meds, some can’t. Your husband obviously can’t and isn’t able to recognize that. Maybe it’s time to say goodbye, at least for now. Good luck, and stay strong.

  14. I’ve missed out on some of the replies but do say I agree with Patricia and another of the comments that it is different for parents in unconditional love with their bipolar / mentally ill siblings.

    Had it not been for my mother we would never have seen my sister again.

    Sadly, my mother’s unconditional love ran out eventually when she realised that her own life was in danger from her own grandson addicted to drugs/alcohol and self medicating. Not good as it’s known that those who self medicate are more likely to turn to violence than those who are compliant with medication.

    We do hope, me included my sister and her son have found some semblance of normality but for us the tie is broken and yes we have abandoned them. I’m not proud of that but as one comment stated we all have our boundaries for tolerance. I also have to say I have met many bipolar people who are not that bad and who despite the mood swings and the trials really try to control their illness through medication.

    If my sister and her nephew had been more willing to control the illness not using it as an excuse for bad behaviour and justification we would not be where we are now.

    I hope one day there is a cure for mental illness of all sorts it kills active lives and we live in such a judgmental society.

  15. There is a profound difference in patience and understanding between a parent and sibling. A parent’s love is unconditional. I see it in my own parents. My parents are beautiful people capable of love I never knew possible. I, however, am not when it comes to my mentally ill sibling. I despise my sister and wish she was successful in suicide years ago.

    Am I a shell of a person? Maybe. I wasn’t always like this though. This is what happens to a person who views mental illness as an outsider. I didn’t create this person or birth them. They are nothing more to me than strangers who just unluckily share the familial DNA with me. Nothing more. I have not known my sister since she was 12 years old which made me 8. I lost out on a sibling and a friend. The kinds you see in movies and the kinds my friends always had. Someone to keep secrets with, someone to emulate and guide you. I had none of this. And my beautiful parents lost out on having a daughter.

    My sister is a conniving, miserable, obsessive, violent, evil, vindictive loser and I want nothing more than for her to be out of my life. I cry at times feeling the pressure of having her misery pushed upon me when she sucks the life out of everyone else. I want nothing to do with her and her constant negativity. I did not and will not live with anxiety and pains in the pit of my stomach waiting for the moment that she has a violent episode and physically assaults my parents for all “the love” they constantly provide her. Mental illness is a curse put upon the people who have to suffer out of “love”. I’ve watched my strong angelic mom manage to still be positive even with her world crumbling around her because of my vindictive bastard of a sister and cry for her wondering how truly happy and amazing she could have been had this spawn never been created.

    I have zero cares to give for people who can’t relate. I understand your position. It is a parents unwavering love and it is admirable. It truly truly is. But I do not have that emotion for an utter stranger much like you don’t when you pass homeless mentally ill individuals on the street. There may be a moment of empathy for their plight, but nothing more. You only care for your mentally ill child because you created it and I understand that love but cannot recreate it for myself. My sister is one of the main reasons I will likely never have children. A life devoted to walking a tight rope to appease someone who will never ever get better is not a life. I have dreams and goals and my mentally ill sister sucks the life force out of everyone she comes near in an effort to pull them down to her misery. As I type this, I am still trying to get past the idea that I cannot go home to see my parents and my dog after being away for 7 months because my almost 40 year old sister has once again “moved back home for a little while”. I wish she was dead. I really really do.

    • why is my comment being moderated? i included a perspective from someone who has firsthand experience with this article. no foul language was used… i don’t understand.

  16. You have obvioly never been mentally ill, not know nothing about the triggers. Abandonment by every one around you is the most signicicant trigger in not getting help. Whats the point, ? if those that “Love” you cant be bothered and hand it off to the health system.. I disagree with you .. Hope you are never inflicted with Severe Depression, Addiction or another mental illness

    • Nigel…I have experienced mental illness. I had ppd to the point of suicidal ideation. I had clinical depression after years of trying to help my brother and watching him destroy our family. I chose me, my husband and kids, and dropped the ball. My parents couldn’t do it and he nearly pushed them into the grave. He’s sober now and receiving treatment…going on about 3 months. He seems to have his act together much better. I’m glad for him. I am. I hope he does well and I hope he finds happiness. I doubt I will ever invite him back into my life or ask to be a part of his. I will not attend events he is at. He will not be invited to event I host nor ever see my children. His behaviors over the long term—nearly a decade—have left so many open wounds and festering scars that it isn’t possible. I choose my own wellbeing. I gave until there was nothing left. Now, it’s done. I have no relationship with him and the relationship with my parents is drastically changed. His behavior and their enabling will never dictate my life again. I’m almost 50 and just refuse to do it anymore. He can’t be more important to me than I am to myself. I choose me. I also deserve peace and happiness, which are not possible when he is in my life.

    • I totally agree – if you are mentally ill, you are pretty much doomed. Pity the idiots who can’t handle it and find the best in you ..

      • Hi Criw,

        Well I don’t agree. I don’t think any of us are doomed. I know people in healthy relationships with happy lives and I believe that is all something we can achieve if we work hard.

        – Natasha Tracy

    • You have obviously never had to hold your sister down while driving down the road because she’s drunk and bipolar and grabbing the steering wheel in a twisted joke to reenact a car accident from your childhood. Never had to climb through broken glass to escape the abusive drunk and bipolar father, to hopefully make it to the neighbors in time to get help before he strangles your mom. Have you spent 3 days straight with no sleep because a bipolar/schizoid sibling can’t handle being without 24/7 attention, so she gets drunk and gets in fights, goes to jail, only to be bailed out and drinking/fighting that night? Do you wonder if a mentally ill sibling/relative is dead every time the phone rings at an odd hour or odd number? How about when you hear sirens, pass by a wreck, or hear about a dui accident on tv/radio? Do you have 3 sets of nieces and nephews that have been left by their mentally ill mothers with less than a phone call occassionally so mommy can party and sleep around? Are you afraid of being accused of rape or beating or having your spouse or parent accused every time one of the family members doesn’t get her way (bc she accused every ex-boyfriend or friend in order for the next to rescue her)? Do you listen to your mother/father cry and suffer or cry yourself because the ill-person intentionally tortured them? Do you have to call 100 people to check to see if one is alive because she is a bed-hopping tramp? Do you wonder if she will bring STD back to your nephews or an insane killer home to bed? Has it become routine to call treatment centers for help only to be turned away because her behavior isn’t risky enough? Have you been called evil or been told you owe someone as a daily, weekly, monthly routine? Do you know cops, bail bondsmen, judges, or ER nurses by name? Have you heard your sister/friend laugh about driving drunk/crazy with her 1 yr old in the car, then threaten to kill you for intervening?
      No? Don’t call others cold or incompassionate when you haven’t been on this side of things! You, by your comment, seem to be the person that does these things, so re-read the comments/article and imagine how we feel. Most of us, the anchors in the families, have battled depression and extreme ordeals, because of family who think, accuse, and act, with the shamefully unappreciative, incapablility of compassionate consideration for us – much like you jump to do when you don’t hear coddling speak about the poor victims of mental illness. It is the mentally ill who refuse and resist help, who don’t care about us, that make victims out of us for our love, use us, abuse us, and leave us until they need something. If you are one of them, then get help, and thank those who have stuck by you before they give up. I have given up on 4 of mine (2 sisters, a cousin, and an uncle) and I’m close to giving up on another sister, with very good reason.

      Giving up on them doesn’t mean it has to be forever… But when they refuse help and destroy everything around them, why should we remain in the path of destruction? I mean, do you stay on the couch in a tornado, or get down into the basement? That’s what we are doing essentially: getting in the basement to take cover from the impending destructive force that is coming for us. If you don’t get that, then you are as unreasonable as the disease that makes them do this. Its not their fault they have an illness. It is their fault they won’t get help or maintain treatment when they know they need it. Why should we have to struggle when they don’t have to? They get to choose to treat it and live better, why shouldn’t we get to choose to take cover when they won’t make the decision/effort to treat?

      You don’t know what we have been through, so save your judgement for the mirror.

      • It’s crazy, it’s an illness, how mentally ill people think that recreational drugs are the answer when what they need is prescription drugs. How do we solve this problem? Better marketing of prescription drugs? Less marketing of recreational drugs? Obviously, the right drugs; ie, prescription, are the answer, but how do we get this across to the mass population, most of whom are suffering from mental illness?

  17. the philosophy described in this post is part of the problem. abandonment is not a solution.

    • Hello,

      Yes we abandoned her because she gave her son my trans sister’s details. He was giving her original male name when caught for not paying a train ticket and she has suffered because of this behaviour.

      Please don’t use mental illness as an excuse for bad behaviour because that’s what my sister and the nephew were doing.

      Yes I’ve been depressed but I don’t behave like that. For my own sanity and my mother’s we ditched her and I have no regrets.

      None at all.

  18. Finally Bridget, yes I had enough. We tried very hard to give her good emotional support even her son and all that happened something else would happen.

    At the end of the day, it’s not us that have failed. I and my mother who is getting on felt stressed and ill having to deal with someone that would not listen to good advice.

    Who expected us to give her all our money. I mean get real. Her son wanted to live in a posh part of town and because he was refused a flat where he wanted it, he decided to sleep rough til he got what he wanted like some child. I’d love to live in Kensington but it isn’t going to happen.

    In the end you have to put yourself first. The last straw and the most hateful is that she would see us yet behind our back be talking wrong about the family we found out from her so called friends, she even accused my mother of robbing her when she gave her house keys to a woman she had just met who then robbed her because she was a drug addict. As much as we had sympathy and we stuck it out for 15 years there came a point where we had to say good bye. She was warned about her behaviour but it didn’t stop it just got worse.

    My transgender sister warned her but it went through one ear and out the other. As with religion I am C of E we all are. My transgender sister is religious too but she would never dream of taking communal because she is a bad C of E in the eyes of he lord, my sister though had no such qualms shameless through and through.

    • In reply to Gabby
      I get it Gabby that you have all been through hell my problem with you is taking it out on the innocents and that includes the mentally ill people. I have to say I was surprised to hear your religion is C of E as I was brought up Roman Catholic but I was taught love and compassion. I get some people are beyond help but that’s them not everybody! But the babies were innocents and the time to help them would have been when they were born -there are so many good people wanting desperately to adopt a baby and give them a quality life!

      You are angry and I get that but don’t call innocent babies bastards! Nor turn it on all mentally ill people and I respect peoples right to believe what they want and my mum gets great comfort from her religion especially since my dad died 6 years go, but I don’t respect any religion that would judge a baby! As I say move on and live your life now but try to have some compassion at times especially for the innocents and being religious should probably help you to get there with that?

  19. @Bridget,

    I have read your comment.

    Yes we walked away from her and her son because we think they are borderline personality disorder as I said no bipolar history in our family.

    Why do you condone the illness. I have met plenty of mentally ill people that are decent.

    Bastards is a good term as that is what they are. They are not my nephews or nieces as she went with trash and shamed her family disrespecting our families religious views.

    She didn’t care about losing my mother her job, or her actions and the stress leading to my father’s permanent disability and early retirement.

    She even had to embarrass her family at her own father’s funeral and giving her son her own transgender stister’s details so he was able to pass himself off when being stopped for not buying a ticket on a train as someone else. You really think we should support someone like that.

    I don’t see an illness I see someone out to destroy herself and her family. She is dead to all of us and I did my best to ensure she cannot do any more damage to our family by taking precautions with social services to ensure her son is put away for good and she is put in a care home where she belongs

    • And Bridget before you say anything else my mother forgave her after all the things she had done to my mother and my father, we provided financial support and emotional support, running after her , doing her hair taking her out and that’s how she repays my mother and my transgender sister who was good at getting her help and support. She has damaged my sister who had to prove she had not committed the travel offences. The police realised it was someone of mixed race, male and half her age and you really think My sister gave her son my transgender sister’s details that she hadn’t used for 15 years and my transgender sister doesn’t look like a man in drag. It’s deeply hurtful to betray your own family like that don’t blame the illness because that’s what my sister did. Illnesses even mental health can be controlled with medication it’s her behaviour. And for that and what her son did to the old man we want nothing to do with her and most decent people would be the same.

      The father of her son was writing cheques out in my transgender sister’s original name claiming that she was admitting guilt for something she knew nothing about. Can you imagine that would have gone on her CRB check 67 offences he did her son, and not just that trying to apply for credit in my trans sister’s name, trying to apply for benefits. It’s disgusting no sister would do that to her own flesh and blood but according to you she’s ill so that’s okay to ruin other people’s lives as well as her own. Bipolar are devious sly and vicious as well as violent when drug induced and alchohol addicted. Fact. I’ve worked with people with mental illness too in the past.

      • @ Gabby & Bridget,
        I’ve read all your recent posts on this thread and I have to say, Gabby, you seem very confused about what bipolar disorder is. You’ve stereotyped people with this genetically stamped neurological illness as all having the same personality as your sister – we do not. We each have the unique personalities we were born with, including our individual strengths and weaknesses, which have then been influenced by our environment. Many of us have the burden of living with BP or Schizophrenia. Statements like “bipolar are devious, sly & vicious” or “avoid a mentally ill relative like a plague” are stigmatizing and erroneous.

        When I read your first post of July 19th, it was obvious to me that IF your sister has bipolar II, that is the lessor of her problems. Her symptoms are far more indicative of the severe personality traits associated with borderline, narcissism and/or sociopathy, with the co-morbidity of addiction. You’ve subsequently stated that your sister has, in fact, been Dx as having borderline personality D/O and you do not have a family Hx of Bipolar d/o. Stick with that, and I recommend you investigate the “Cluster B” personality disorders. You should recognize your sister there…I recognize one of my own sisters – that’s for sure. Thus, I do empathize with you, your parents & other siblings for all you’ve been through.

        As for distancing or ending your relationship with your sister, I offer no judgment there. We all have our tolerance limits, so that’s a very personal & individual thing to figure out. Yet, you might try to understand why your parents did so much for your sister, and where Bridget is coming from when I address her next.

        @ Bridget, I’ve read all your recent posts too, and I feel for you and your son with a huge heart – we share many similarities. My 34 year old son was first mis-diagnosed with Schizophrenia at 19 years old – it was his 3rd hospitalization when they finally got it right – Bipolar I w/severe Psychosis. He’s a wonderful young man who works hard at staying well – I feel so much warmth and joy when I’m in his company. That joy is tempered with fear and pain, for I know what his battles are like, and sometimes I’m overwhelmed by guilt for passing this horrible genetic illness on to him.

        Bridget and Gabby, I need to explain a little more, and then give you my opinion as to why you both feel so differently about the notion of saying goodbye to someone with a mental illness. Unfortunately, I’m going to need to finish up tomorrow – I believe you are both in the UK, and I’m in the US. It’s past my bedtime and I must go, but I promise to get back to you tomorrow.

        Peace to both of you.

        • In reply to Patricia Louise
          Thank you for your post and I sympathise with you too and please don’t feel guilty about passing anything on to your son as we have no control over these things!

          I would say however that I do not judge people for not being able to stay in any ones life that is destructive to their own or the families lives as you say we all have our own tolerance levels and coping skills and as I said in my post there is no shame in not being able to continue to support your loved ones etc. but just own it and no need to make excuses for it by blaming the person who is suffering an illness not a life choice! I do believe a parents unconditional love sometimes is probably the most powerful of all loves but I have had some bad times too it hasn’t been an easy 6 years to finally get my son back to good health and he is doing so well, and he has a girlfriend of 3 years now that has been there for him also (he met her when he was doing volunteer work at a place for adults suffering depression and he was helping out by working on the gardens etc. so she obviously had a good understanding of mental health anyway) I actually think of her as an angel sent to help him! She is so beautiful on the inside and I have said to her many times not to worry if things get too much as I would always support her decision but she loves my son dearly so for now things are good but like you say the fear and worry for me will always remain. My son just wants to work full time and lead a normal life (like most of us) and he at least found himself a job 2 days a week again garden maintenance maintaining pitches at a hockey club so at least he feels good about that! I don’t wish people bad but I do get very cross when people stigmatise mentally ill people and want them treated the way there were years ago – locked up in asylums and the keys thrown away etc. I want people to understand that there are people that behave badly and lead destructive lives that do not suffer from mental illness! I work in a firm of Solicitors for last 25 years and we specialise in matrimonial and believe me I have seen some evil treatment of wives and husbands by their spouses and none of them suffer from mental illness not one in the whole of my 25 years working here! I agree we all have our own strengths and weaknesses – there are parents that cant copy looking after disabled babies – its not their fault but its also not the fault of the disabled babies. I couldn’t work in an old people’s home washing and cleaning elderly people but others can – I know my mum could do that job she would have made an amazing nurse – I could do it for my mum or family member – but that’s my weakness it doesn’t make me a bad person anymore than those carers that reach their tolerance levels and have to walk away they are not bad people they just cant cope anymore! But all I say is own and walk away! If it happened to me I would still be there but at a distance as I wouldn’t trust the health carers not to just also give up on my son also!
          I think compassion goes a long way and the old saying if you haven’t walked in their shoes! I also thought religion taught forgiveness – you can forgive and let go of anger and hate and still choose to walk away its probably so much more healthier option! And yes I am in the UK. regards Bridget

          • for Bridget & Gabby,
            Bridget, you are very insightful and are spot on about many points I wanted to make. Yes, it’s the unconditional love of a parent that makes the difference in whether a person can cut someone out of their lives. I don’t think that kind of love extends to siblings or spouses. My son has also been through some very difficult times, but even when he exhibited anger towards me & his father, we knew it was his illness talking, and I don’t believe we could ever stop being supportive of him.

            And you are so correct that many people choose to blame the ill person, and use the illness as a weapon against them, without ever questioning the rationality of their own behaviors, or the stress they may have added to the ill person’s life. I always say that when a person is struck with a mental illness, that does not suddenly cause their family members to become perfect human beings. You you witnessed a lot of evil and destructive behaviors while working for Solicitors – that’s a good example of so called “normal people” displaying wicked behavior, and getting a pass. A person with MI would not get such a pass, and could easily loose custody of their children simply because they have a MI, regardless of their parenting skills – I see discrimination and stigma everywhere, and it pains me that my son has a lifetime ahead of him to deal with so much stigma.

            Well, I am glad to hear your son and his lady are doing so well – we are also blessed in that arena. Thank you for your input and response. Have a wonderful evening – regards.

            • Dear Patricia Louise
              Thank you for such a lovely post and yes we definitely have been through similar in life which is why we understand each other! I totally agree with your post about the so called “normal people” and the getting the pass!!! So true!
              We do live in a very cruel world but thank god there are more good compassionate kind people and people that want to be kind and understand than the bigoted ones!

              I wish you and your family all the best going forward and I will always be here if you ever need ma listening ear – just send me a message and we could go forward and support each other!!

              Thank you for your time!

              All the best

              Bridget

      • reply to Gabby
        First of all I missed this post as I have been away for a long weekend. Secondly I wasn’t going to bother replying to you again as it all seems a waste of my good energy so this is the last response you will receive.
        I would point out t6o you that its you that blames the illness in your first post for your sister’s bad behaviour and your condemnation of all mentally ill people that are suffering! My post if you read properly states that you cant blame her illness on her behaviour even Patricia Louise has tried to explain that to you. I shudder at the thought of you working with mentally ill people when you lack basic understanding and compassion plus are so judgemental yet hide behind being religious! Religion causes so much trouble in the world and its because of people like you that interpret religious rules and man made rules to suit themselves! Do you think the lord will welcome you more in to his arms than your sister (the transgender one as lets face it she is your sister now) or even your evil sister? Does he not preach forgiveness? If you really practice your religion you should be full of compassion understanding and forgiveness! You can forgive someone and still choose to not have them in your life! So as I said stop blaming mental illness for your sister’s failings and bad choices in life. Do you think our prisons are full of mentally ill people only or are they also full of criminals who are just bad? Your sister has to live with her own choices in the end. And I just point out that I do not make any excuses for her anywhere in my posts as I don’t blame her suffering bipolar as the reasons for her behaviour albeit you are not sure what she has actually been diagnosed with anyway! But if she tried to strangle her other sister when she was a child and was always a problem as a child she should have been diagnosed then but it matters not what illness she has or doesn’t have her behaviour is bad as that’s her not mental illness so stop making horrible comments about the mentally ill people who suffer enough with stigma like yours! You can reply if you want but I am not wasting anymore of my oxygen on you!!

    • In reply to Gabby

      Hhow can anyone condone an illness? I do not condone bad behaviour! And as for someone suffering with a serious mental illness whether it be paranoid schizophrenia (like my son) or bi polar this is not a choice its what they inherited –(its called getting the short straw) imagine how lucky you are that it was your sister who got bipolar (or is it now boarder line personality disorder ) and not you! How do you know if bipolar is in your family? No one knows for sure as mental illness is very common in all families but in years gone by it was hidden due to families being ashamed!! And the mentally ill were thrown in to asylums and the key thrown away! Thank god its a lot better these days and they can lead normal loving lives, albeit the funding for mental health is way too low so the services are poor and usually short of staff as with most of the NHS! At least there is a strong campaign now to try and help people not suffering with mental heath issues to become more aware of the problems of those that do! Mental illness is inherited so if your sister does have it your children or grandchildren could get it – just saying!

      You said in your first post your sister suffers with Bipolar 2 ?(look it up). Now you say she suffers with boarder line personality disorder? What was your sister diagnosed with? You ended your last post with “steer clear of relatives with bipolar” any mental illness can be destructive if the people suffering are not getting the right help! However you cant blame your sister’s behaviour on her illness as you will find people can and do behave that way without a mental illness!! People can lead destructive lives, again without having mental illness as an excuse!

      You still didn’t inform me which religion doesn’t allow you to support your grandchildren or nephews or nieces? No they are not “bastards” they were innocent new born babies that are not born evil! And hate to break it to you but they are your blood in law too! At least the one that was adopted got away from you all and hopefully got lucky with good supportive adoptive parents and given a chance in life! Just hope they don’t try to find blood relatives! You then described her other son as living like an animal? (he really didn’t stand a chance did he?) Why didn’t you contact social services then in order to try and save him so he had a chance in life? Why was your sister allowed to raise him if she was so out of control?

      I can feel your hatred and anger and yes all that happened to your family is awful but you lack compassion for those innocent children and feel good about naming them bastards – that really speaks volumes about you as a person, narrow minded and a judgemental person lacking in compassion for the innocents of this world! Please stay well away from your sister as she is no doubt beyond help, but she is still better off and her son too (who is also damaged by the sounds of it) without someone so judgemental cold and callous in their lives anyway! Who would? Please don’t label all people suffering with mental illness as people to stay away from like they suffer with leprosy! Not everyone behaves the way your sister did (with mental health or without it) and not everyone would turn away from 2 innocent new born babies but there you have it that’s life!

      If I thought it was worth it I would suggest you read up on the illness and learn more about it but its not worth it as anyone that thinks its ok to call new born babies “bastards” and practices a religion that preaches no support for grandchildren/nephews/nieces born out of wedlock to a mother with mental illness (if she has been diagnosed with mental illness) cant be worth it! Also I do hope that you never end up with dementia or unlucky enough to have a brain injury and maybe end up in a nursing home too, how ironic would that be! Imagine for a couple of seconds how awful it must be to have to live with a brain that doesn’t work as it should!!

      • @Bridget, yes I know all about bipolar disorder and the symptoms. I’m sorry to disappoint you but both myself and my transgender sister had psychiatric evaluations and I am not bipolar. My trans sister has unipolar.

        We have never behaved in the way that my sister has.

        It’s debatable that there is a genetic link even in studies. No spending like tomorrow, no disturbed sleep we have had none of the symptoms and this is why I question if she is bipolar 2.

        She was very disturbed as a child trying to strangle my transgender sister when she was small refusal to eat.

        So before psychoanalysing me I give thanks that I am not bipolar but I could add Schzioprenia is genetic so perhaps you need to get yourself checked out.

        I have had all the evaluations. I’ve never ever been like my sister none of us are. I would never sleep around ( hypersexuality) nor would I have children with anyone including someone whose name I don’t even know.

        That isn’t normal behaviour. Sorry I am glad we ditched her. She was dangerous and a problem

        It is possible to develop bipolar through stress that isn’t genetic. At the end of the day what happened to her is unfortunate but it is also down to her poor judgment and turning her back on her family.

        Please do not tar me or the rest of my family with the same brush. None of us have addictive behaviour, I have never done drugs nor do I drink or smoke cigarettes are you saying everyone who smokes cigarettes is bipolar because I could argue there is a link to that there is.

        Nice try. As I said I have had two evaluations myself and I am not bipolar I do not meet any of the criteria for bipolar and I have never had psychosis.

        As I have also said it’s debatable about the genetic link in bipolar it’s not proven and there are two sides to a family and I can assure you neither my mother or my late father had bipolar and none of us not even my transgender sister have been diagnoised our view is she has a personality disorder the traits between the two are similar. Look at yourself. I stand by everything I have said. It’s not the illness that’s caused her behaviour it’s her she was like it years before which is down to a personality trait including when she was a very young child.

        The bipolar diagnosis is the follow through. Are you sure you are not bipolar because she was quite spiteful in saying that because we didn’t want to know her druggie and alcoholic son and homeless and violent we were racist simply the reason was I didn’t want my elderly relative attacked and robbed by someone unstable and ill.

        Please do not post any more criticisms or comments. I have aired my view it’s valid. I don’t really care for your defence of the mentally ill. I talked about how it’s impacted on us it’s not my fault what happened to her or her upbringing as she went to a good school and my mother was strict with her and my dad was good to her. It’s her she’s rotten to the core and so is her son. Everything that happened to her she got what she deserved and no I can’t abide mentally ill people, they are needy, clingy and just down right depressing.

        Life is tough, don’t rely on an assortment of happy pills and anti pshchotics to survive life, you take the knock’s because life is a box of chocolate. I hate my “dead sister” for what she did to my mother and late father and for all the pain she put them through. They didn’t deserve it. I hate her for what she did to my transgender sister to take her original identity and give it to her son is disgusting it’s also an offence but because she is a nutter she will get off scott free whilst my poor sister suffers the consequences.

        For anyone out there, avoid a mentally ill relative like the plague.

        • In reply to Gabby

          Please read my post again and point out where I said you had bipolar? I am not a doctor I said your children or grandchildren could inherit it if its in your family! No one chooses to get it you know! I am a 58 year old mother of 4 and grandmother 2 from a big loving family with amazing parents who taught me family is a blessing and love and compassion go a long way in life! If you havent walked in the shoes so to speak! But I did have an aunt who suffered with bipolar (who sadly died of cancer at 56 years old who also never smoked or drank and only had children with her husband and a cousin still alive and while been through many struggles in life is now doing well and aged 55 years and also only had children with her husband!! Bipolar is inherited as well as other events that can bring it on such as trauma in life! I consider myself the lucky one so I have learned about mental health and depression and have experienced it with my son since he was diagnosed at 16 years old but I took the time to find out as much as I could about it! And yes its heredity just as they now say breast cancer can be!! I suggest you read my post carefully and then read your posts and see which one of us is the nasty one – you call innocent babies ” bastards” for god sake! You use a religion for not supporting these poor babies (now grown up) there is no shame in not be able to love and support someone with mental illness but just own it and if you hate your sister for all shes done since she was a child that’s your right too! Just as its your right to tar innocent new born babies as bastards! But its also my right to tar you with a brush of being callous self righteous nasty person and I am really pleased that one of those babies escaped having an aunt like you in their life! How is it to be such a perfect human being who does no wrong in life? How perfect you are and how opposite you are to your nasty sister! Wonderful for you I am sure someone will one day give you a medal! How dare you post on a mental health blog warning people to stay away just because of your sister’s bad behaviour – that is nasty to the core – I don’t know why your sister was so nasty as a human but don’t you dare go blaming all mentally ill people as harmful that is just so evil – please share your religion with me I am so interested to know what they preach and I suggest that now you are rid of your sister why not just move on and live your perfect life and celebrate that she is not in your lives anymore! Let other people struggling and battling to help their loved ones get support or advice and no one has to put up with any bad behaviour from anyone whether they have mental illness or not – zero tolerance works!! And as I said before there is no shame in anyone wanting to walk away from anyone with mental illness but own it don’t blame them – its a lot of effort – just as I am sure there are many parents that walked away from their disabled children because they couldn’t cope but a foster mum does cope its not the disabled child’ss fault is it. If a person develops cancer and becomes hard work for the family or god forbid has an accident that makes them disabled and brain injury or stroke can change their personalities would you just think its ok to abandon them because they are hard work! Life is hard – life is a battle and life can be wonderful too! So leave the people who are battling mental health everyday alone! And go and live your perfect life that you are living!

  20. i agreegree. I dont have one person in my family who isnt addict, mentally ill/ in denial. I think im in denial too. Its really confusing because they will act all normal and cool and you will think things are getting better then they go cray again and its really confusing and frusterating. I’m sharing an apt with my dad temporarily right now its really gross again painful, i thought we could build a relationship and i could heal things inside me from past by facing them with a new attitude. But it doesnt really make me stronger at all. Im on edge and so much weaker this envirment is not good for me the good does not outweigh bad. I only have about one more year until our lease is up. Sometime i feel really stupid for thinking things couldve gotten better also for putting myself in the same situtation. I agree with the getting punched on a hamster wheel comment. This is not fun.

  21. Life to some is just one difficult path, but more difficult for those who became ill.

    First my identical twin who I loved dearly started to show sign of psychosis in his late 20s, which eventually manifested into paranoid schizophrenia. This was followed by numerous incidents, violence etc… but regardless, I have stood by him and watched over him for the last 20 years thereafter. He eventually got sectioned and has been on medication for the last 7 years, he is much better now, but clearly still has issues and everyday for him is a constant battle, but I love him and always will. I have learnt how to deal with him and accommodate his illness and mostly go along with his side of the story. He has never relapsed.

    With all this going on I was still raising a family with my now ex, who got hooked on heroin and hit rock bottom. I left her eventually and this resulted in me taking custody of our 2 sons. This was a dark time in my life but several years later she has fully recovered and now has custody of my youngest son who is now 16. They both seem happy, I see them regularly, she has never relapsed.

    From being 18 my eldest son has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and will soon be 22. It all started with him jumping off a quarry on his 18th Birthday and breaking both his legs. He has been in and out of hospital ever since, has zero insight and his only ambition is to take more and more drugs. This is the most difficult to deal with emotionally as I have watched him grow and have held aspiration for him and his future and love him unconditionally. My family have stood by when needed and always offer support. But every now and again I get overrun with emotion, this could happen at any time, but normally after a roller-coaster ride where we end up on the same dead end street in the same situation, normally with him in hospital, in seclusion. IThis ends up with me breaking down either with family, at work or home, could be anywhere. I do this out of sheer helplessness, not having the ability to protect him or help him. But I would rather him be in hospital than on the street, if he where on the street then I don’t know what I would do as I love him dearly.

    At present I am living with my current partner who helped me raise my son. We have an 8 year old daughter and stepson living with us. I never turned my back on my bother or my ex when they needed me and always helped (and that includes tough love too). I don’t want to turn my back on my son, but I have chosen to live separately to make the home environment better for the rest of us. My son is 22 and a man who chooses not to take his medication (by no fault of his own) and so for this reason he will have a negative impact on the family, so I have decided he either stays with his mother (although I don’t want him to) or he can live on his own. But we will always be there to help him and care for him if we can.

    I need to develop better ways of dealing with him in a non patronising or judgemental way to make his life less stressful. What I need to realise is that he believes whatever comes out of his mouth, I have the ability to better understand and deal with with what he says, he doesn’t. I need to develop a better strategy for managing my emotions, without going cold.

    I have always been a fighter but am beginning to believe that coping instead of fighting will make me a better person eventually. I have made so many mistakes along the way and have been so blinkered. I have come to learn so much about myself, my emotions and other people. I will always be there for those who need me but will keep them as close as I can without upsetting the apple cart.

    Life is one big roller-coaster but allas I feel that the ride has only just begun!!!

    Hope this makes sense

  22. Hi
    Mental illness is a sad thing. I married a woman, who intentionally got pregnant. She was a lovely gal. Beautiful, full of ambition and charm. However, I knew something was wrong from the beginning. Drug and alcohol abuse. Violent rages and mood swings. Promiscuity. Etc. well, I chose to marry her following the pregnancy. I thought things would change as she was young and I drank and used drugs. You know, she was young. We all do some pretty wild stuff.
    She was a wonderful pregnant gal. So vulnerable and in need. She quit smoking, drinking and doing drugs. She cried quite frequently during the pregnancy but I wrote it off as her just being frightened so I held and encouraged her. When our first child came it became very clear that she wasn’t prepared. My mother and sister said they had never seen a woman so eager to leave her own child. She tried, I know she did. However, she would frequently collapse and cry that ‘I can’t do this’. I worked harder and tried to console her. After a short while things just kept getting more difficult. She started drinking, the rage and violence returned. I struggled to understand. I began getting angry and stressed. I worked very hard to provide. Shortly thereafter the disappearing acts began. Not coming home. Discovering she was out drunk and perhaps screwing around, I, alone, at home with a two year old. No money. Paycheck to paycheck. I got angrier. I tried to reason but to no avail. She would cry and say she wouldn’t do it anymore. The overwhelming feeling she had continued. She tried but continued to collapse under the strain. I started thinking of leaving the marriage. At this point we got pregnant, again. Unplanned and quite frankly, I’m sure purposeful on her part. The cycle began anew. Within one month of our twins being born she disappeared and came back at six in the morning drunk and tripping on acid. I freaked. To no avail. Soon thereafter the money problems, a marriage long issue, began. Credit card fraud, outright stealing and lying about it even when evidence was put under her nose. The rages and violence continued. I began to rage in frustration. I worked very hard just to keep a roof over our heads. In crippling debt, hers, but mine because I was her spouse.
    She worked for awhile. I soon discovered that she had been leaving our children, toddlers, mind you, locked in the basement of a supposed baby sitters house, and was going out and doing God knows what. I tried to leave, again. I was torn. I was committed to our kids and our family. I was in crippling debt. Yes, another child came.
    I won’t continue on this thread much longer. The drug abuse continued. The horrid drunks, the credit card abuse. The pathological lying. The rages. The anger and the stress. We were always fighting. Meanwhile, she had a wonderful ability to play the victim. I was to blame for every action and behavior she undertook.
    Over the years I kept working hard, we had some good periods. Friends thought we were a perfect couple. A model family. An illusion I created. It never got better, only worse.
    My now ex, left me for a guy she picked up at a bar. Four years ago she was diagnosed with bi polar 1 disorder. She denies it. She attempted suicide and nearly killed herself several times from excessive drinking. I saved her life five times. She blamed me for wanting to kill herself.
    After dealing with years of lying, theft, child neglect, drug and alcohol abuse, crippling and constant debt, infidelity etc I went from reasonable and loving to desperate and pleading to anger and raging to withdrawal to depression.
    I lost sight of myself. Only now six months after the tragic break have I rediscovered myself. I’m doing ok now. Our children have turned on their mother and are going to court to testify against her on behalf of their minor sibling.
    I have been labeled an abuser. I have been publicly humiliated and left with outstanding debt, my home is gone, my family shattered. She is now ‘the happiest she has ever been’. Flaunts her many boyfriends and is doing everything she can to ruin me. Alienated and severely injured her children. Is the perfect victim. The same beautiful, charming girl I once loved.
    You see folks. Living with someone with mental illness makes you sick. It leaves you believing you are the one who is wrong. That you were responsible for their actions. They move on, without guilt, or remorse, leaving destruction in their wake. No amount of reasoning, proof, and evidence will make them see ‘your’ side of things. They are, after all the victim’. In fact it is those who live with these people who are the victims.
    Now before you all say why didn’t she get help etc. I don’t know. Marriage counseling was a lark. She just lied. Personal counseling was a lark. Did nothing. Suicide attempt, hospitalizations, er visits…nothing. She didn’t see a problem. Even now, knowing her own adult kids are going into a court room to ‘expose’ her, per se, she resists and denies. After all, everything she did was my fault.
    Now, and even though this battle continues, my mind has restored to calm, love has returned with a ‘healthy’ woman, my children are learning to cope, my family has rallied around, a good job and fun has returned . None of this was possible had I not gotten away from this monster. Yes, a beautiful, charming, sweet, innocent, fun loving, kind hearted, MONSTER, that very few really know. Only us, the lucky ones. The ones that had to live with ‘her mental illness’. The ones that were ‘infected’ with her mental illness. They say life isn’t always fair. True that.
    I’m sorry for any one having similar problems but I have advised my children to run for the hills quickly should their partners be mentally ill, especially bi polar. No doubt this woman has a host of cluster b personality traits, too.
    A real ‘crazy maker’. Good luck and get the hell out while you still can. They WILL make you sick, too! There is no peace with people like this. Of course, I am sure there are those who actually make an effort to get help and improve but in my case….no…especially difficult when the crazy maker has a crazy making and enabling mother who actually told my kids that it was ok to steal from your husband, that I was responsible for her daughters behaviors and mental illness etc. Thank god my kids know better. One of the very few consolations of a sad 20 year Union. I broke this cycle of madness….you can to!! Well, I’m off to make more money which I have to give to this wonderful gal. Doesn’t even piss me off anymore, not healthy. YOU CANNOT RATIONALIZE WITH AN IRRATIONAL MIND. GAINING UNDERSTANDING FROM SOMEONE LIKE THIS IS LIKE WAVING A BLUE FLASHCARD IN FRONT OF A BLIND PERSONS FACE AND ASKING THEM TO TELL YOU WHAT COLOR IT IS,
    Get out. You deserve to live a life of peace and happiness, I am really sorry for those of you with children who suffer. My heart truly goes out to you BUT I hope you aren’t enabling the problem as my ex’s mother has done from the beginning. Shame on you if you are,

  23. I have a sister with bipolar 2 who has done so many things to our family but blames us.

    From hypersexuality including sleeping with her half uncle under my father’s roof, to getting drunk and screaming for sex in the street.

    To neglecting me when she was meant to be looking after me and when I did something wrong unsupervised as a small child she denied it was her fault to my mother.

    She then went on to sleep with married men and wanted my mother’s approval to be some fat old man’s whore.

    My mother got her a job with her only for her to carry on with a married colleague and have his baby leading my mother to lose her job and inevitably my mother being out of work thanks to my great sister for 3 years and losing pension, dignity and respect and my father having an accident and being disabled thanks to this bxtch of a sister.

    Eventually though, she had a break down and good I’m not sorry she got what she deserved and lost her son to adoption even though she sent the bastard’s father’s family round to pester my mother to bring up her bastard which my mother refused for religious reasons.

    After 13 years of absence where she told my father in a letter I have no mother and father we saw her again.

    By this time she had a another bastard outside marriage she didn’t even known the father’s surname and he lived with her for 8 years.

    Her son grew up like an animal , used to swing from a top floor flat window, held a knife as a small boy to my sister’s throat and tried to stab my father.

    He also spat in everyone’s food when asked to say thank you.

    As he grew up he used my transgender sister’s identity to commit offences in her original male name and get his father to pay the fine and tried to borrow money and benefits in my transgender sister’s name and also pay day loans in my elderly mother’s name.

    We believe he murdered a man that she used to do shopping for.

    No one else in our family is bipolar and the trans sister isn’t but my bipolar sister protecting her alcoholic and druggie son who had issues of his own, didn’t care about using the original details of the transgender sister’s life and she lost her home and career because of bipolar relatives and the damage done to fraud by bipolar people

    Steer clear of bipolar relatives. My sister is dead to me. She’s done so much to bring shame on our family and to my transgender sister. Her son is much the same. Bipolar is a dangerous and destructive illness we gave a lot of support to both of them and some people won’t listen so don’t let them destroy you just stop all contact it’s the only way and go to the police if you get threatened.

    • Once again I have tried to write here in response to yet another family member blaming the mental illness for bad behaviour! But I have so much to write about with my own experiences but not the time. I have a mentally ill son who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at 16 years (he drew the short straw out of my other 3 children!) He is 30 yrs old now – he was well for many years but relapsed when my dad died and some other events in his life (he was so close to his granddad as his own dad was killed in car accident just before he turned 4yrs) – it took us until last March to get him back on medication after he was sectioned (for the second time since he got ill again only this time I made a lot of noise for help! ) he is now taking monthly injections and doing so well got a job 2 days per week (but it was a fight and a battle not just for him but me too and my fight was with the health team who were doing nothing – thank god I have Power of Attorney so they have to deal with me!! My son has suffered and he has had bad moments and its been a strain but he didn’t choose this illness – he has found it hard to accept he has it as lets face would any of us like to have a brain that distorts your thinking its bad enough if our hearts start to play up but at least we can understand what the doctor is saying and not be suspicious of it! With a lot of love and support from me his mum and the rest of my family we have battled again to get him back to better health no it hasn’t been an easy ride – my dad died 6 years ago and its taken that long for me to feel confident he is back on the road to better health again! I totally understand anyone that cant cope with being there for their brother/sister parent son daughter /partner girlfriend/boyfriend and there is no shame in not being able to cope but please stop putting the blame on not being able to cope on to the poor person suffering with mental illness just as its not your fault you cant cope with it its not their fault they have a mental illness! Do you understand what mental illness is? Your brain is not working the way mine and yours do – we have that luxury they do not. Just think for one minute what it must be like not to have control over your brain and for all the paranoia you feel – its real! Its a terrible illness but everyone is different – there are plenty of people suffering with mental illness that are trying hard to live good lives but they couldn’t have done it without love and support understanding of their illness and tolerance. Now if you are unable to give that to your relative then they are actually better off without you in their lives as it will not help them to improve their health. So just give up on them if you cant cope but don’t bloody blame them – those that cant cope should own it not try to use excuses and blame the sick person just own it and move on! To the person who groaned about her sister’s illness being the cause of everything that has happened to her life and he parents lives – if you think its acceptable to call your nieces/nephews bastards I wonder what kind of person are you. Maybe those poor children your sister gave birth too needed a good aunt or grandparents to love and support them and maybe just maybe they would have turned out ok? What religion is it that doesn’t allow you to be there for your grandchildren – I would like to know what evil religion that is!!
      And to the husband that was having problems with his wife (again remember not all behaviour is down to the mental illness you have plenty of people that behave the way both the sister and husband has described without having mental illness!) I say this what happens if one of your children end up inheriting bi polar from their mother will you abandon them too? Remember all of you that are free from suffering mental illness – it is inherited so you can still get it plus your children or grandchildren could get it so learn about the illness and try to understand – if you cant be there don’t be there but you can always help from a distance! This went on longer and I still haven’t said enough but my lunch break is over!!! Just don’t blame everything on the illness!! And also have zero tolerance of bad behaviour – it works even with mentally ill patients unless they are so ill they need to be sectioned for their own safely etc.

    • While I am very sorry that your sister put your family through such hell, ultimately everyone is responsible for their own behavior and that includes those of us with bipolar disorder. Bipolar might have caused your sister to experience hypersexuality, but to refuse treatment and continue making bad choices? That’s all on her. Full stop.

      That said, you already sound like you’ve made up your mind that all people with this illness are destructive and dangerous, so you too have made a choice not to listen. The blog entry is about letting toxic people out of your life, not condemning an entire group of people as dangerous and lacking a conscience. (I also think it’s pretty gross of you not to accept your nieces or nephews because they were born out of wedlock, by the way, but I suppose that’s neither here nor there.)

      However I do suggest that you and your family also seek counseling, as it sounds like your sister has affected all of you in a really negative way and often the family of a mentally ill person finds themselves undergoing compassion fatigue and might need to sort some things out.

      Good luck to you.

  24. Thank you so much for your post. My boyfriend was diagnosed with schizophrenia but ever since has been convinced it was a drug induced incident. The past few years have been fine and he hasn’t taken medication or seen a doctor. We recently had a baby and last month he decided to quit his job forcing me to pay all the bills myself and raise the baby on own. He believes he is now working for the government and keeps saying money is coming. He is refusing treatment and thinks I along with his entire family are trying to control him and kill him. As I’m sure everyone here knows there’s nothing I can do until he threatens to hurt himself or someone else. He’s nonviolent but I’ve taken the baby to stay at my parents’ house while I basically pay for him to live in my house. I want nothing more but to keep my family together but I need to put my son’s well being first. I am getting an eviction notice tomorrow and it hurts so much and I feel terrible about it.

    • I had a friend i knew for three years and things were ok for the first year..But i noticed he was acting wierd`saying things like he was the first ever to expose realastate fraud in 1970 and said he was hiding from the goverment and his phone was tapped and he keeped hearing noices outside his house and his house was bumbed`the one about his finding fraud in 1970 cant be true he was only 13 years old then he’s in his late 50s and getting wrose..He keeped saying he loved me and wanted me to come live with him`I never did when i would confront him about his mental state he would deny It`But I google searced his name and found alot of hime being in Jail on suside wacth..He denyed that also..So for three years he has put me thrugh hell..At time’s he would not contace me for a week and be mad at me and then he would call every day like it was in the begenning when we first met..so I finnally had nothing more to do with him..Its be four months now and i blocked his Phone No:…..Had to do It for my own Health!

  25. We have been raising two mentally ill family members- one adult and one teenager (not going into too much detail b/c specifics don’t matter). We have finally come to the conclusion after 14 years of trying to help that we can no longer help. The teenager needs constant supervision (will end up in jail not long from now for stealing). They lie, refuse to help themselves, take care of themselves, etc. We’ve tried everything from therapy to social workers, the reality is some people just can’t be helped or don’t want the help. I’m sure I’ll hear it from those on here saying we are cold-hearted but at what point do you say we need to live our lives? What good are we to them if we are under so much stress from them?
    The easiest way to describe what living with someone with a mental illness is like is: it’s like living in a hamster wheel that is constantly spinning while the mentally ill person/people punch you at every half turn.

    Remember each situation is different, so it may be easy to say “you don’t have a heart” or “how could you do that? it’s not their fault”.
    If this was a domestic violence case would you be telling the person to stay and deal with it b/c the abuser can’t help it? Of course not.

    To the original blogger- thank you for this. We needed this more than you will ever know right now.

  26. Wow. So many broken people on here and I include myself as one of them.

    5 years ago my wife started behaving erratically and it was eventually diagnosed as bipolar.

    Really it has been 5 years of hell. The cycle has been 6 months of being manic and 6 months of being severely depressed. Whether manic or depressed her attitude and actions to me have been consistent… she hates me, thinks the worst of me and has even been physically violent against me in front of our precious 6 year old daughter. During the manic phases I know she has compromised herself, nearly bankrupt us and was out of control.

    I think I did my best to protect the family, my children and our marriage putting my wife first and ensuring I surround her with love and support, which as you all know is really tough when someone is constantly telling that you are no good, terrible, that they don’t love you, they wished they

    Thankfully she was diagnosed and has had some tremendous support from the doctor and some excellent professionals. Over the last 4 months, with the help of medication, she has stabilised and is much more reasonable and steady.

    The last four months has given me some rest-bite and while I completely understand that my wifes behavior was due to an illness I realised I am hurting, damaged and probably burnt out. I am so pleased for my wife and children that she is steady for the time being…. but I have built up my own system to cope and am struggling with this new ‘normal’. I am also aware that she could ‘flair up’ or get depressed and my heart has already been through enough.

    I couldn’t cope, and neither should my children have to cope, with anymore episodes so I am hoping that this medication works. In the meantime I hope I can also heal.

  27. I have dealt with two mentally ill abusive parents who died horribly from lung cancer ( chain smoking ). And since their death have had to deal with two much younger sisters who have signifiant mental health issues. I have been in therapy and feel I have done quite well with my life despite some jarring obstacles. I also have been pondering the issue that I also need to sever the relationships that are so hurtful, caustic and disturbing to the point that I have serious sleep issues. My siblings are only getting worse and more self destructive and I am frustrated that there is nothing I can do to help them. In the past I have been generous to the point of denying myself things. At my age,( 62 ) I cannot continue to throw money at a situation or allow myself to continue to be constantly upset at the progressive destructive episodes.. I need to face the fact that I, must put closure to a situation to which there is no resolve. I am not a coward, but I need to preserve my own life and the years ahead. This is very much like a death, and not an easy issue..

  28. I’ll keep this short. I know this article was written about me specifically, and I know who it came from. He didn’t even have the courage to write it himself, so he had his wife do it for him, pathetic. So here goes. Charlie, if you don’t want to have any contact with me be a man and say it. Don’t have Leslie write an article about it, that’s weak. And you want to sit there and say how sick I am, but what about you? How about the time you thought Leslie was cheating on you and you jerked the steering wheel out of her hand when she was driving and totaled her car by making her wreck into a tree? I’d say that qualifies as mental illness, and it’s downright dangerous. How about all the times you flipped out on your ex wife Nicole? Threatening her with violence? How about the way you treated your little brother (me, you know, the sick one) while we were growing up? All the constant belittling and public humiliation you put me through. So, that’s it, that’s all I have to say to you. If you don’t want me in you or your family’s life, be a man and say that straight up. Don’t try to make it seem like my fault so you don’t have to feel any guilt. I have my problems, but at least I admit to them, and own up to them, unlike you. You’re off the hook, I’m done for good this time, have a nice life…

  29. My husband an i are dealing with a 22 year old son who is bipolar schizophrenia and this has just come to light we knew something was wrong but never thought thus till it got worse and as a mom I pride myself in the fact I knew my kids I have always been able b to read them but this I missed an now I live each and every day regretting that I didn’t see it sooner this child is tortured and scared an doesn’t understand what’s wrong or why the rest of the world is so wrong he won’t admit that something is wrong only we as his ps r nts need help we are everything from drug addicts to abusers to people that hold him captive simply because we discipline him or making him accountable for. His actions .we try to make available to him a clean safe home we try to feed him not let anyone harm him an quite frankly he doesn’t appeeciate any of it I know he’s I’ll an I knso w he
    An we love him so much but have not got the experience to help him nor the med
    an the laws prevent us from getting him help so we just go in the circles all the time we get him in they give him meds. Then let him out without much explanation as to what wrong an to fix it so u know so he gets no help an then we ate again in that cycle from hell where he’s calm then hates us then he’s working for the government and god an Jesus an we are going to hell an we aren’t his parents each episode is worse than the one before my husband an in 6os an have bad hearts me with copd an not very much time left an I would lay down my life for my family if it would help them but it won’t he has lost his welcome at any family’s home we even got asked to not come back to a hotel this past weekend so I’m asking this his rages are scarry an getting worst tonight he hit me an kept trying to do it again he says I’m lying when he does something an I tell him to stop or if I let someone know what hes done he lies all the time about anything so when do we let him go when is enough enough a do u walk away or let irvconsume b ur life and destroy u aswell

    doesn’t understand any of this but how do u help him when the very laws that sre

  30. I wish I had the courage to walk away. My sister is a ticking time bomb. She is slowly destroying herself and unfortunately all we have the power to do is watch. If she only understood that the only thing stopping her from being happy is herself.

  31. Wow…this was the most painful place I’ve ever been. I want to read, but, I don’t want to tell. Thank you for being braver than me.

  32. Here’s what I have concluded after countless hours of research and having schizophrenia, adhd, andanxiety disorders in my family. The illness, is part of the person and the rest is character. My uncle has schizophrenia and when I met him he was super nice and didn’t hurt anybody . That’s what makes him who he is. My Dad has adhd and got hit with the depression. But he is in denial and is always yelling and saying negative things and unconcerned that he doesn’t have a conversation with me. And doesn’t know me. That’s his character. .. I have adhd and ocd. I have never been abusive. And went for help. But the system is scary. And treat patients like animals and dont hear them and prescribe like they a’re guneau pigs. hope that info is helpful. Love also goes a long way. Showing them that you love them and feel their pain anD Want to see them happy. Can you imagine not running the show of your own life ? I think its the most horrible thing to deal with

    • Nvolady Thank you for your post I donot know where you are living but In the UK we have just had an election and people have put in power a very right wing goverment that will continue their programme of welfare cuts This will severely affect those with mental health issues Many people have already died as a result already some commiting suicide and many people are feeling very scared and down If people donot support their family members now who need it many people will really suffer. I urge everyone in the UK to have compassion and love their families and to fight for the welfare benefits and services people desperately.

  33. Hi,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on saying goodbye to someone with mental illness. It is really not easy caring for a family member who does not want to acknowledge the illness or take the medications to stabilise the condition. At times, I keep thinking it will be better for the member to pass on to release her suffering although it is not a healthy thought.

    I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for you to choose to walk away because I sense you love your brother deeply. I hope you’re doing ok.

  34. Interesting, the comments of recent, narrowminded, judgemental, critical, assumptive. Being a carer doesnt make one an expert in the field of mental health, it is actually very subjective and limiting to only a certain type of mental illness. Anyone who cant understand the message in this original post has not been the target of abuse by a mentally ill person otherwise they would not be saying what the do and see the prejudice in their comments. Being a carer or a mentally ill person is acknowledgeable, but not on the recieving end of mental illness abuse.

    Where is the carer or the looking after person for the author who is subjected to this ‘scapegoat’ witch-hunt?

    How did this thread for some become about justifying themselves and their situation (subjectivity) over the author’s situation (objectivity). Some here are too worried about their small world and whats going on in it and assume that the rest of the world mirrors the same (subjectivity).

    Ive seen and experienced too many people self sacrifice their health and sanity, even their mortality over being the mentally ill person’s punching bag and door mat. So I understand where the author comes from.

    Ive also seen and experienced too many people co-dependant and attached to the mental illness of another person in a humanitarian effort to not have an open mind and objective presence to other variations and existances in the broad spectrum that is mental illness.

    Each have their own stage of journey, awareness and learning…. so to say that the author is heartless and cold, or that the author or other experienced, educated, working and living therapists/carers/loved ones are wrong for their mental health experiences is egocentric.

    The fact is many of you here recently are supposedly so balanced, caring and open minded and compassionate to yourselves and those you are caring for, but can not see the original post message for what it is, the need to extend some balanced, caring, open minded and compassionate to those impacted by mental illness. There is a circle of support you know, the carer/therapist influencing the mentally ill, the mentally ill responsible for influencing their carers and loved ones, rinse and repeat carers, loved ones influence the carers/therapist/mentally ill person by either becoming a carer or a new mentally ill case themselves.

    I respect the authors decision to not want to become mentally ill, even more so if this is the type of carer and support that others of very recent posts lend to such people. Rather hypocritical and nepotistic and shortsighted hey Bluebird?

    I dont have a mental illness, all I have is experienced awareness much more broader and humanitarian based than you have gotten to yet, and Im open to life and people with objectivity unlike your subjectivity (which is to judge, criticise and label everyone who doesnt agree with your idealistic attitude).

    When you get to the authors position, you will understand the point of view they are sharing, and not just yours which shows is only one type of mentally ill person youre used to catering for. If you were experienced and educated like you said, you would see how silly it sounds to hear by other experienced, involved and trained people the discrepancies you project out, and are trained in accredited standard practices of care which include not becoming emotionally biased to the patient, the hippy approach doesnt always work on the clinically ill.

    Its a mental illness where talking here, that is, imbalances in the brain which affect functionality and behaviour, not an emotive illness which are imbalances in the heart and affect the ability to love someone as a measure of coping with behaviour survival instincts. But if you were properly educated in caring or mental health (2 different levels of the health industry) this would have been taught and practiced on your first day and been able to detect the author responding to the mental illness and not their personal betrayal of love standards which requires them to find inner happiness in order to continue being a punching bag so that the ill person continues to be a destructive force to anything they come into contact with. The author has every right to maintain their own dignity, sense of safety, self respect, just like the mentally ill person assumes the right to it despite often having no control over it.

    Im sorry but until you can empathise and be a carer for the victim of illness abuse and not just the mentally ill person, please dont criticise others who already can and do operate in such a way. Your mentally ill loved one may not be as challenging as some are, you may have supportive others supporting you while you do caring, no one person is the same as you, and to suggest that all mentally ill people are the same and require the same level of care is irresponsible and narrowminded. Clearly the author doesnt have the external support for their sibling that should be there and healthy and sane means looking after ones self first and foremost. Something I think you are yet to understand (by reflection of your posts – or trolling whatever you would like to call it).

    Ive dealt with plenty of narcisists as well. Dont condemn people who have learnt more about their journey and speak up about the things youre trying to justify and protect. Its not advocacy and awareness, its domination and idealogy.

    This is my last post. Its only the internet. Real life operates very differently and I have work to do, people to go back and support and assist. I hope YOU Bluebird find the balance of objectivity that is being a balanced carer of the mentally ill and the mentally abused. Its much more apt place to be humanitarian and compassionate than just ‘one side of the fence’.

    • Oh how ignorant you are. I highly doubt you have ever dealt with a mentally ill relative, not to mention 15 of them for forty years. You come off as a calculating, cold-hearted sociopath who knows nothing about the frailty of mental illness. In fact, the callousness you so willingly express in your posts and replies indicates to me AND most of the other commenters that you are in desperate need of professional psychological help indeed. If you truly are a caretaker of so many mentally ill family members then it’s a clear cut case of “the blind leading the blind”, with you being the sickest “wastage” of the lot. How can you call yourself objective (which you did, MANY times) if you take care of so many mentally ill family members who have influenced your attitude about mental illness? That is the very definition of subjectivity; the ideals and outlook you have acquired from caring for family members with mental illness. I think you need to go back to the dictionary and look up “objective” and “subjective” again. An OBJECTIVE person see things as they are, or could be, WITHOUT input from their personal experiences. Furthermore, an OBJECTIVE caretaker would NEVER give up on a mentally ill family member because the caretaker would KNOW that there’s always a new day, a new tomorrow, another chance to help their mentally ill family member improve the quality of their life. An OBJECTIVE caretaker would do all in their power to help, even with knowledge of the detriment to their own mental health and well being. There are very few people in this world with the will to self-sacrifice for the benefit of others. A little humility goes a long way for humanity, and those are the people that I want to surround myself with.

      I truly hope you seek medical assistance for your mental illness. For your sake, I hope that YOUR caretaker does not share your subjective pessimism. Good day to you.

  35. You are one cold motherfucker. No wonder there are people in your life who are struggling.

    You never try to stop helping someone in need. Never. Fuck off with your weak “I give in” shit. I say goodbye to your human values, they are for shit. I reject your coldness. Have a nice life.

  36. Bluebird,

    I’d like to note that, as someone with Bipolar Disorder, the statement “Happiness and peace comes from within.” is frustrating. It is much more accurate to say:

    “A serene demeanor is an act of will.”

    • James thank you for your comment

      “A serene demeanor is an act of will ” That is very beautiful statement I have not heard it before I wish you peace and all those struggling with illness and their family and friends the serenity and peace we all need

  37. I read your article and wonder where you get your ideas of a happy life from Apparently your brother has a dual diagnosis and to have a happy life you needed to sever contact .
    He is your brother and you should be grateful you have a brother. Try to be supportive no matter what while he is ill You do not have to live with him see him every day or response to every crisis or indulge him in his confusion but he is your brother and he needs you.
    There is always a middle way. Do people really have the right to happiness and good life. Where did this right come from ? If they do why is half the world starving and why do we in the developed nations have more than we need.
    Life is suffering If you carry on believing in this ridiculous concept that you deserve a happy life and will achieve this by ending relationship with close family members rather learinng to cope with adversity then you will never be at peace with yourself and always dissatisfied with life Don t encourage others to make wrong choices You are really deluding yourself that you have found the road to a happy life I pity you more than your brother .

    I

    • Im sorry but while you have a right to an opinion, you clearly do not know what you are dealing with by saying such narrowminded and unexperienced ramblings. You clearly miss the point of this post. It is not about someone wanting a happy carefree life, it is about someone who is saying that they want a SANE NORMAL LIFE. You know, the HEALTHY FUNCTIONAL AND EBBING life that most take for granted. Mental illness is not sane, not healthy, but instead highly traumatic, destructive and violating. Imagine seeing someone being murdered right in front of you, imagine the shock, trauma and distress that would cause. Well imagine this happening in a cycle 24/7 and you cant get away from it. Thats what mental illness is like and does to loved ones. It doesnt have a balance of highs and lows, happiness and sadness, it is a train wreck of constant cataclysmic destruction that wipes out anything in its path, including the loved ones. To suggest this person isnt there for their brother and should be self sacrificing their life for wastage like the sibling is irresponsible. It is unhealthy and dysfunctional not to support this loved one who is using sane and healthy functional approaches expressed in this thread to address a very traumatic theme. There is only so much a person can do to support and be present for a person who CHOOSES not to accept it and instead perpetuate the relationship with abuse and forcing the loved one to be a doormat. There was once a time where such people were medically arrested and institutionalised and given cognitive therapy and medication by force, and they became functional socially liveable people in their community. Govt does not want to fund such people and so they are left in the community to fuel the dysfunction and families to deal with. This person is not disastified with life, they are addressing mental illness and the frustration and lack of understanding people like you project back onto them. How about actually READING, THINKING, EMPATHISING and UNDERSTANDING what mental illness means to people like this and not make judgements on random guesses of it being their fault. Thats half the problem with society. They do not see things for what they are and then try to tell others that the responsibility of a persons mental illness belongs to the loved one to own. That is wrong.

      • Your strange picture of me is nothing like my reality I am a carer of someone with severe issues and also have some experience in working with people with extra needs and am academically qualified I do see things as they are I know there is not enough support for carers, not enough help for those struggling with mental health issues and I am an active campaigner Are you doing anything positive to change these inequalities ? So none of my statements are made on what you say are random guesses about people and their situations Perhaps you should not rush to judgement so quickly

        I just think people do not know peace and happiness come from within oneself and project their dissatisfactions with circumstances outside themselves. There is suffering in life and if a family member needs support you should give as much as can You cannot rescue people but can take a middle path and not just dump them and cut off all contact If you cannot have compassion for your family members who should you care for . It does not take much to make an occassional visit, phone call and help out sometimes . I am sorry you are such an unhappy and angry person and I hope you find some peace

        • People do know happiness and peace comes from within. The title of this thread post and its content exhibit that the author has an understanding of a place deeper than you are able to recognise yet on your journey. Why do you think they are being honest about them realising that someone who doesnt want to help themselves cant be helped, its better to remain healthy and sane down the track instead of both being too sick by allowing the loved ones illness consume them and their life as well?

          You may be accademically qualified, but there is so many shortcomings with your posts.
          I have been on this carer/therapist road now for 40 years. I have a severely ill war vetran father, skitzophrenic brother (as a result of), my mother being an untreated unmedicated severe NPD, OCD, skitzophrenic who hoardes, has a spending addiction, clepto, theives, antisocial, mental capacity of a child, and 2 severely intellectually disabled children.

          I have also been ‘academically trained’ in fact its a constant for quality assurance purposes. I work with GPs with Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Counsellors, Social Workers etc etc

          Please dont mistake assertiveness and objectivity for anger. You are quite subjective in your responses still for something that requires objectivity.

          You dont know if this author has a depressive illness or not, the ‘suck it up princess’ message is enough to make some depressives attempt suicide because the motto is not helpful to deal with reality.

          This is the brutal reality compared with delusional reality – brutal reality is that the current world does not have the societal values of the 1800’s. To expect them to is delusional reality. Reality is taking objectivity from facts of whats actually going on around you and making a non emotive or opinionated assessment of whats actually being communicated to you through environment, speech and language.

          I feel carers are important. They support where there is a lacking of govt support. But not all mental illness is the same. Its not a stereotype. But there are times and circumstances where in the deeper wider picture it is not beneficial for someone to throw their own lives away to be a dutiful doormat to someone who may never get help for themselves – cause they dont want help. People have to hit rock bottom before they will seek help. If theres people molly coddling them or preventing that rock bottom from happening, they are perpetuating and enabling the illness.

          And also, whos to judge whos worthy of self sacrifice, we are all born equal – with conscious life, and so have as much right as anyone else to choose how to live it.

          It is short sighted to ask someone to see happiness in a world that is turned upside down and even made dangerous by accepting their own safety being compromised as not accepting of reality.

          No insult was intended with my post, please dont mistake assertiveness with anger. However you need to travel your journey a hell of a lot more to be an authoritive – and legitimately authoritive – campaigner for mental health. There are a lot of things in your posts which suggests to me you have an avid interest in it but not the precision based authoriative expertise on it. Your posts are heavily ruled with critique, ego, judgement, which are all valid of course, but as mental health requires LISTENING and COMMUNICATING not TELLING and ASSUMPTIONS based on personal ideologies and stereotypes, to be effective on an vocal authoritive level, Ive never encountered a practicing psychiatrist or psychologist, professional counsellor or GP tell the person their opinion, just offer the skills, insight and risk assessments into patient care.

          This is why the ‘suck it up princess’ message, the ‘people do not know happiness comes from within oneself’ message contradicts the basic principles of mental health therapy of an treated patient who has self actualised (because what you are saying contradicts the message projected in the title and content of this post).

          This person has said, look i know that cutting myself off from my brother is seen as shameful and i do feel guilty, but my life has some worth for me and as my brother does not want my support or help, i do not want to throw away myself or my life, its sad enough the world has him to contend with, they dont need me to be like that as well.

          This is someone who does see happiness coming from within oneself and attempting to project it outside themselves by taking the necessary actions – against delusional draconian ideals of family duty (which you support) – and this is how the world will become a better place and more loving. By not contributing to the dysfunction its already encountering.

          I feel you are limited and too consumed by the person you are caring for to not understand this, nor the highly evocative risk you portrayed in your ‘suck it up princess’ message regarding idealogy on family values. They are values, but they are not factual reality. Factual reality is this author has a destructive force that is consuming their lives and they must survive and do what is necessary to survive. This is why we have suicide. People do not know how to support and use factual assessment because they are too goverened by the opinions of their personal values and beliefs. This corners the troubled and such narrowminded attitude, or ‘close down’ statements give them a perception that they have no options from the chaos that is confronting them.

          What academic qualifications and experience do you have in mental health? It doesnt follow the professional and experienced kind that Im normally working with.

          • Jo I cannot really understand what you are trying to say and am truely sorry you have experienced so much sadness in your life and are feeling depressed and seeing the world through this prism.
            Frankly I do not believe in objectivity and do not believe professionals themselves are objective and frequently discriminate against their clients according to their own values and exclude carers from the process in very negative ways.
            Everyone is part of society and is influenced by their family values, culture ,ethnicity social position education etc etc.
            I am taking from a carers viewpoint not a professional. In the culture I live in showing compassion for oneself and others paticularly family is greatly valued. i understand if some people decide not to support their relatives because of overwhelming needs of their own and then crave approval of their decisions.. I do not judge them It is what is. Suffering. if they were not suffering they would not be craving acceptance of their actions.

            I value the person I support He contributes a great deal to my life I am very sad he is struggling with his mental health but he does not need my rejection on top .

        • please also become more aquainted with empathy and compassion principles. it is how one can ALL the peoples side of things (not just one or two) without judging or diagnosing and holding the integrity of objectivity.

          One should never give more than able. When you ask someone to give up their sanity and health for the sake of someone else, then this is irresponsible and contradicts the purpose of being an ‘authority’ of good mental health.

          compassion is not about being a doormat, its about understanding the position of others and respecting it.

          When you find yourself part of that compassionate picture, rather than a neutral element, you need to also weigh up your own position in everything. And this what the author has done, and i feel in reflection to therapy she has had with a professional.

          Compassion is understanding, humanitarianism is the act of engaging compassion.

          Humanitarianism takes compassion to a new level where elements such as self preservation need to be factored in. Boundaries of self respect, boundaries of abuse, boundaries of care.

          There is a big difference between caring for an elderly patient with dementia, to caring for a patient with destructive mental illness. One is non violent, one is violent. Being an aged carer or disability carer is not the same as being a professional psychologist or psychiatrist.

          Hence why mental illness is not a stereotype of one thing. It is a whole world of health in itself because the dynamic of mental health is epic.

          Asking someone to take the route of dealing with a violent mental health situation by using non violent mental health skills is like asking a warrior to go into a sword battle with nothing but cloth armbands.

          • Jo.. you really do not know many mentally ill people, do you? I mean, seriously… you do not know many mentally ill people.

            You think you know many… you educated yourself in it, you type seemingly volumes regarding it… but ya just don’t know very many mentally ill people… not on their level.. nope.

            I worked alongside a most brilliant psychiatrist once, some years back (I, as a mere uneducated little admin) who could not actually relate to his patients on a “human” level. He was so educated, understood all the theories and therapeutic practices, etc. but just could not communicate with his patients on a “human” level.. ya know.. their level.

            He came off very indifferent, aggressive at times, callous and uncaring.

            Where was I? Oh yes… sorry
            I took offense at the wording “wastage” and I took offense at the generalized perception (mine, mind you) that we who are mentally ill (cause I am) are all swirled up in this perceived and created ball of one size and color.

            The size and color are that we are violent, abusive, destructive and derogatory people, not wanting to help ourselves, running a muck seemingly and throwing off meds and treatment and assistance at a whim, who are just not worthy of love, compassion, support or encouragement… except by clinicians because for loved ones to do so, is not fair to the loved ones and thus we, who are mentally ill, reduce our loved ones down to doormats and force them, against their will… to care… for…. us.

            You typed, nearly happily it seemed, of a time long ago (but, not all that long) when people diagnosed with a mental illness were forcibly institutionalized, removed from their homes and loved ones – their children and spouses – forced to be medicated, lobotomized or endure painful ECT treatments… all to supposedly become socially integrated people within their communities.

            Many of those patients never returned home, Jo. Many of those patients never had a visitor from a loved one and many, were placed in those institutions because someone wanted them out of the way or to “teach them a lesson.”… it’s true, for some.. not all mind you, but some.

            It would be so nice to one day read a blog or a message board to which people didn’t lump all the mentally ill into such a vile and disgusting ball of color. Sure, there are many who fit that ball of color, but, not each and all of us.

            Yet, it’s those few of us… who aren’t the whole.. who just cannot seem to break through the stereotypical ball of color you and others have created.. you guys and gals so seemingly, self-knowing of mental illness… and yet, not really knowing many who suffer with it.

            I am mentally ill. I’m a daughter of a mentally ill parent (actually, 2) and I’m a granddaughter of a mentally ill grandmother (my mother’s mother) and I’m a aunt to a mentally ill niece (my side) and a cousin to a mentally ill 20 year old girl (my mother’s side) and to her 12 year old brother (ADHD/Oppositional Defiant Disorder)… most all with Bipolar, some with ADD or AHDH and GAD/PTSD in the mix.

            I got mine honest :-)… and not a single one of us had, has been, have been or are still… wastage.

            • hi, thats nice, i respect your opinion like everyone elses. dont make assumptions about me you know nothing about. you dont know my life, my career or my personality. i also dont stereotype so maybe you shouldnt judge me on assumptions. if you read what i said and not what you think i said you would understand the meaning of what i was communicating. please dont accuse me of something that youve not read correctly. its interesting that professionals encourage me to work with them and tell me straight out i need to work more because its working, so i must be doing something right in my line of work. if you did not read correctly, i have 15 mentally ill immediate family members and work with youth and adult illness so thats plenty of experience and compassion and training for me to question someones rude narrowminded response to the original post of this thread. If you would like to take Bluebirds advice and be look for happiness within while you ‘suck it up princess’ as your brother destroys your life, then go right ahead. I dont agree with it, it doesnt work with depressives or victims of mental illness abuse. as he hits rock bottom, maybe kill himself and you in the process before he becomes a ward of the state where he will get support and treatment, at least you will be remembered for being a dutiful sibling. it is what it is. i suppose spousal abuse is ok too, you know domestic violence where the partner has to stay with the mentally ill violent partner because its their duty to be their punching bag until theyre dead? its confronting, but its the reality of the situation. not every situation is safe with mental illness and the author was right to protect themselves from it when all else failed.

            • Tabby thanks for your post i agree with what you are saying People with mental health issues are just people and should not be lumped to together Stereotyping is a very damaging practice and causes stigma and prevents people from getting jobs etc etc.

              I do not know where you live but I am there is a big nationwide campaign to fight this This website is very damaging and from some of the posts it encourages this very thing. Carers who are struggling are being used by someone to create a financial reward out of other peoples suffering.
              it is a business There are always people who think in a very ego centric way and do not consider the common good Carers need positive advice and support to enable them to care for themselves well and maintain some kind of relationship with their relative\ other

    • honestly you sound like the enabler of a mentally ill abusive person. you need to take a good look at yourself before criticising and judging others!

      • Get out of here. You said you spent 40 years working in this field and you can’t spell schizophrenia correctly. Just leave.

  38. What we need are more stories from women who claim that their drug addled and unemployed mentally ill boyfriends accidentally impregnated them the day after they shoved them down a stair case after visiting her elderly father at the nursing home, but only because she was upset that he slept with his two cousins, one male and one female, while high on heroin in a casino toilet stall after losing all of their rent money on a losing hand of poker. And that now that she has matured and wised up a little she wants to find a secure, employed man with a steady paycheck and a decent car and a home of his own to move in with and marry. Of course, in a few years, should she get bored, she can always divorce him, own the home, courtesy of the court system, receive alimony and child support, for the kid which is not his own, and then move in her true luv, the drug addled baby daddy… I would suggest that men leave such women alone and leave them to their own fate.

  39. Wow. I feel like this helped me a lot. Recently me and my boyfriend of three years moved into a new place new beginnings for our family but after three days one night he broke up with me in front of all his friends at our place calling me a whore when I did nothing wrong. Now it’s been four days and everyday it’s the same thing, still yelling, still acting evil when I’m doing nothing but trying to make things better, trying to reason with him and still doing all the cleaning, laundry, caring for our 10 month old son all on our own while he just leaves all night with his friends then comes home and sleeps all day. He told me he’s going to stop supporting me even though I have my own means of income, he has been diagnosed as bipolar since he was 12, and this isn’t he first time we’ve been through this cycle of breaking up. When my son was three weeks old he left me and my son with nothing at all and the rent due in two days. He went out partying for months hooking up with girls days after leaving us, and somehow I forgave him. Things seemed different for awhile besides the occasional manic episode, they only lasted an hour, not days. Now I feel like I don’t know what to do. I love him but he’s already talking to other people online and it’s our anniversary today he told me he doesn’t care anymore. How am I supposed to live with someone who gives me nothing but heartbreak. And how can someone maintain their own sanity for the sake of their kid if the other partner isn’t even trying. I wish I would’ve never met him because I feel like the entire relationship has been a roller coaster even when I was pregnant. I’m tired of the cycle I wish I could find real love. Someone who doesn’t put me down and accepts me for who I am, and not have to constantly be hurt by someone who lies and says they love me.

    • Typical. Unfortunately. She KNEW he was mentally ill. But, oh my! It has been a ROLLERCOASTER RIDE since I met him! Cheap thrills, folks! Lots of DRAMA! And, whoops! Wouldn’t you know it, she ACCIDENTALLY got pregnant! Now her mentally disturbed boyfriend is out banging other girls while high on drugs! She has brought another lunatic into the world! Glory hallelujah! Can we get an amen?! Now all she needs to do is FIND HERSELF, and then go and find a pathetic man who is willing to take care of her and the lunatic she is going to raise, pick up the baggage and what not!

      • Harry,

        I don’t understand the point of your comment. If the story you actually write turns out as you predict, Sabrina’s life and the life of people around her end up positive. But, if that case, you think the result is actually bad. If the story ends up not turning out, she and her child have a less positive life. I think we can agree that result is also bad, in that we wouldn’t wish suffering on people.

        My hypothesis is that you’re actually frustrated about another person or circumstance in your life. People can be very destructive and hurtful, and people with mental illness have additional challenges to behaving appropriately. Many people aren’t up to the challenge.

        But, whatever you think about someone else’s story, you should always consider that you know a ton about your own life and thoughts and essentially nothing about theirs. It’s reasonable to make a decision that you can’t be around a specific person, at a certain time in your life. That’s personal.

        But it’s unreasonable, and I’d argue actually immoral, to write off people you don’t know (especially in such a heated way) because they remind you of circumstances or people that make you angry. Investment bankers caused a global financial collapse which resulted in a terrible amount of misery for everyone but themselves. None of them are poor, and none were ever put in jail. The stock market is higher than ever before, and all that money is more concentrated in their hands than ever before.

        But, It would be wrong to dislike a person just because they are an investment banker. I mean, typical, right? All the world needs is another one fucking over everyone else to get a McMansion and vacations in Italy.

    • i have typed up at bluebirds responses, and theirs wouldnt help in your situation, to save reiterating what i said there, if you want to look at my responses it will explain my thoughts.

      is it time you started putting your son before your lover, and start protecting him and his needs first before his father? your son doesnt need all that trauma and chaos in his life. he could develop it himself if thats his role model.

      please access some professional support to make that possible.

      bipolar wont go away, but you have a responsibility to protect and nurture your son from harm, love or not, a fathers actions is destructive to a child in that form and will heighten the risk of your son becoming the same through role modelling and genetic risks. your son has done nothing wrong and does love you unconditionally enough that you are worth loving yourself just as much.

      the right man will love you both when he comes along because you love yourselves enough to set boundaries and self respect for each other.

  40. Hi! I have been reading this blog for about a. Month now and I found it really inspiring. My husband has been diagnosed with bipolar since six years ago and our life has been a turmoil since then as he usually stops taking his medications as he is convinced that he doesn’t have anything and that he had a bipolar ‘crisis’ in a year that he had to undergo a very stressful incident: his PhDs thesis. Of course he is still to present it as his condition and his instability do not allow him to act in an appropriate way so that he finishes with it. He has a low stress job in the university and he doesn’t usually abide with the rules there causing me a lot of stress every time this happens. We experienced so many depressions and manic episodes together. I particularly remember the latter in my pregnancies. I am still surprised how I didn’t micarry.
    Now he has a manic episode for one more time. He finished writing his thesis and he tried to make the presentation stopping his meds again for fear that he wouldn’t be able to be as active and agile as the occasion required. He started drinking lots of coffee and he snapped at me every time he felt like it always asking me to be patient and understanding, promising that everything will come to an end soon and that he will change afterwards. I got so tired of him. During this last six years since he was first diagnosed I had to forget and forgive so many things, his cheating on me, his going to the casino, his shopping sprees, his coming home late when he is manic and his sleeping for days and his fears when he is depressed. I think I am fed up with him. I also think that I don’ t love him anymore.
    The problem is that we have 2 babies (3 and 2 years old) whom I bring up almost on my own without any help since both our parents live far. He hasn’t been a good father to them as he doesn’t spend time with them. ( this is another thing he will change). When he is manic he yells at me in front of them not being capable of controlling himself. He even takes them to his mum when we fight claiming that I have issues and that I need to consult a doctor and that he can’ allow his children being with me.
    I have always been patient believing that he will manage to follow a treatment but now I think I have had too much. I am too young to lead such a miserable lifestyle. I also want to do it for my children. Soon they will be able to realize what is going on and I don’ want to see and live all this. However, I am afraid of his reaction when he finds out that I want a divorce. I talked to his doctor and he told me to wait until he gets over his manic episode. He has taken the children to his mum. I am furious and broken at the same time. I don’t t know if I have the patience to wait.

  41. Hi,
    I’m bipolar now for 33 years and am faithful to my medication. I have never missed a dose in 33 years. But certain members of my mom’s side of the family hate me. I can’t go around any of them for fear they say horrible hurtful words to me. I am 70 years old. I am the one who originally sought help in the first place.In fact I spent 36 days in a mental hospital called Charter Mandala. In 33 years I have been on 5 different medications. As we all know medications are only part of us staying level the rest is left up to us. I have done well in 33 years except my family will not forgive my early years back in the 1950’s and 60’s. No one actually knew what was wrong with me. I had a mother that ruled me with her fist not her love.I endured her wrath for my whole life. She died in 2012 and I know she was bipolar herself and she never sought help but only condemed me my whole life. Forgive my spelling its been 50 years since I graduated high school. So from what I am reading on here I am different I do everything my doctor says to do but I still get kicked in the teeth for something I can’t help. Most don’t understand I don’t have a cold and that it will go away it won’t. I have it forever so I live with it. I’m not perfect nor are you but I get pain everyday but I’ve learned through the years to just move on because I’ll never be normal . I’ve been going to the same doctor now for 33 years. I do what I’m suppose to. If I had cancer, or heart disease people would show compassion but they don’t. to them I am bad and need to be destroyed or better yet hide me under the carpet they don’t want to deal with it.
    thank you

    • larry, was your mother a narcisist?

      Look up Nacisistic Personality Disorder and see if any of it is relative to your experiences.

      the more and more i read about peoples stories, its sad and if people would like to casually chat on a new but present interactive forum for responses, i have one. Mental health is a lifelong journey for me and those i encounter so dont mind if anyone wants to hop over for a chat. I cant give professional opinion but i can offer decades of intense experience compassion and a listening ear, maybe even some ideas.

      reply back here and i will provide my not for profit website details when i next reply.

      Im definately recommending this thread for referencing on my site.

  42. Thanku for sharing this.,I found out a year ago my 44 yearold brother
    Was mentally ill. He was in the hospital last summer, now he has lost
    Everything and is on the street. I weep everyday and try to keep
    My life together. My brother was smart, genuine and caring. Our parents died
    Within five weeks of each other 3 years ago. My brother never got past it. Will I get
    Past this ? I pray and hope so. My brother is gone, he went off his medication, and
    Now all I have are the memories.

  43. About 3 months ago my bipolar ex decided he needed his own space and moved out. He blamed me for the break up even though most of the arguments/bad times were when he had his episodes of anger . I knew we would end up breaking up but I still had hope. This has been an extremely hard thing for me because I’m still in love with him. I tried everything I could to convenience him to get help when we were together but he wouldn’t. He waited until after he left me to get help. He says that he still wants to be friends but wants to date other people. He actually feels comfortable telling me about his escapades with different women. I have tried to explain to him that i feel like I’m dying on the inside trying to maintain this friendship because the things that he says I know he doesn’t say to intentionally hurt me but in his mind it’s okay. He actually offered me the opportunity to give him oral sex a few times a month and said that will keep him from sleeping with other women but refuses to be intimate with me. I really don’t want to walk away from him because I know he wants to get better but I can’t keep allowing him to hurt me. Some days when I wake up I hate him and others I want to be by his side. He was just prescribed medication and I want to wait to see if that will level him off a little but my heart is telling me to walk away before he says or does something else to hurt me. I know he going to hate me if I walk away but I feel like I need to save myself from him

  44. I have a sister who after 45 years is thinking of leaving her husband. He has Bipolar disorder and has caused a lot of pain,hurt and anguish not just to the immediate family but all who try to help.
    I saw someone say”How could you abandon a person with a mental illness?” I think when you have invested 45 years(and also have a special needs child) you have the right, as a spouse to say “Enough”

    It doesn’t mean abandoment but it does mean you have to finally decide what is healthy for yourself and family.
    Yes-it is heart breaking to have such a tough mental illness…However when the strain begins to affect your own physical and mental health you have to decide what is best for You and the family members affected by the behavior of the mental illness, especially if that person is NOT trying .
    It is like someone trying to make an alcoholic well.ONLY the alcoholic can do that.You can go to a rehab center and lie your way through it only to go right back to drinking again.
    I speak these things from experience.

  45. Jane is right. I stumbled on this site and I am sad for all the people who are ill who have people like you for relatives. I can imagine what it must have been like growing up mentally ill or struggling and having a hateful, angry, negative reflection from your own family.
    Disgusting to me.

    Find some service in your lives. And compassion.
    Thanks to you Jane for saying what I was thinking.

  46. I have very severe bipolar manic depression agoraphobia with slight tendencies of being a sociopath and horrible anxiety to the point that sometimes I act like a small child and become afraid of the silliest stuff or I’ll have black outs and say horrible things to the people around me and the ones I love but more then likely some of these people have no idea what they are doing to destroy their family I didn’t till they sat me down and started talking to me they then proceeded to get me checked and that was the outcome tons of pills a day and lots of therapy which the therapy worked but they found a herbal substance which I didn’t believe would work but it did it’s called um EMPower Plus and believe me it changed my life for the first time in a long time I could feel emotions and I didn’t have as many violent outbursts but when I did I could take control and stop it before it became horrible but really what we need the most is love and support because if it was not for my loving husband that stuck by me through all my crap and my parents and brother I wouldn’t survive so don’t shun them love them and try and understand how they see the world it’s completely different and it’s a struggle that drains us to the max so have patients with your loved ones they need you more then ever <3 <3

  47. I get this. I hear you. I’ve lived this. It gets really tricky when this person has 4 children though.

    • I have a solution to your problem let’s gather myself and all bipolar’s in a large uninhabited island drop a nuke on them then your problem is solved. does that sound like a winner.

      • Um…what? Not sure why Larry’s comment is in response to mine? My only point was that it is hard to cut someone out of your life who has children that need help. I would love to cut my sister out of my life forever, but I love her children and they need help because she refuses to get a diagnosis and take meds. She is not a good mother to them. She could be a wonderful mother if she got the help she needed. But your response is pretty typical, in fact it sounds a lot like something she would say. Anyway, I’m not going to argue with irrational people on the internet, there are enough people in real life who I can’t get away from. How do I unsubscribe from comments on this blog?

        • as far as your answer you are irrational to me. all bipolars are worth the extra effort.

        • You have your opinion I have mine. If you want to insult me that’s fine. But I’m going to have my say. I’m 70 years old and I’ve lived my life differently than yours if u consider me irrational then so be it. This is nothing to do with a mental illness but my right to free speech.

        • Hi Kathryn,

          When you comment there’s a box to subscribe to comments. Just uncheck that box. (There may be a link to do it in the actual emailed comments, too, I’m not sure.)

          – Natasha Tracy

        • You note that you would cut your sister completely out of your life forever, but that you love her children and they need help.

          You noted that “she refuses to get a diagnosis and take meds. She is not a good mother to them. She could be a wonderful mother if she got the help she needed.”

          So, your sister is not officially diagnosed with any mental illness, or just not with Bipolar?

          You also noted that she has 4 children, that she is not a good mother to them. If she is a danger to their safety and welfare, then you are obligated to do what is necessary to have them safe and well. In that the children, apparently (cause you’ve not said), are still with their mother – your sister – means that their safety and welfare must be adequate and sustaining some normalcy of life.

          I do not mean to *seem* crass or indifferent, but many people have a different definition of parents not properly taking care of their children; be the parent(s) have mental illness, or in this case – not (she is not diagnosed, your words).

          If her children’s lives are truly in danger or their basic needs of sustaining life is threatened and/or jeopardized… someone needs to step up and ensure.

  48. Our Nephew married a girl from Utah with a boat load of Mental issues. The past three weeks she has been so manic she asked our nephew to allow her to have an affair so she came have a man that will hold her at night and have sex with. She has been tiring to kick him, spitting on him when he cooks for her she throws the plate at him,
    Stays in bed most the day. She had back surgery three months ago and has been put on Oxy and we thought this might be intensifying the mental illness. We spoke in depth with our nephew trying to learn as much as we could to get into her mind set and that was awaking. Early in her life she had a strict father that beat her mother and was very controlling. She is estranged from her family which at first I thought was sad then the story of her controlling, demanding personality came to light. On the kids first anniversary they came in town to see his dieing mother and spend time with her our nephew thought it would be nice to surprise his wife at the last minute take her in Town to a nice hotel wine, roses and spend the night. Well she started with “Your not dressed well enough”, “The hotel is disgusting” and proceeded to drink a full bottle of wine once that was down all hell broke throwing shoes out the window of the car window, screaming, kicking then the verbal abuse started flying on Facebook. Our dieing sister had to calm her down ask her to remove the filth off face book once she did that she locked herself in the bedroom and would not come out. The next morning our nephew got in the room bring her a card and food she tore the card up and throw the card and food in his face and asked ” Bring Me My Son Now” 7 days later our sister was dead it was all about her not her dying mother inlaw . Her family warned our Nephew of her violet episodes her diva like behavior yet he did not want be alone in life once his mother died. As time goes by she has attacked me verbally because I had said that I did not want our handicap niece her sister in law to live with them because she gave up two boys to two different fathers she said were “horrible men” but allowed them to take her boys and her refusal to be educated on how to care for a handicap person. I saw her out bursts first hand her looks on her face were pure evil. The doctor tried to put her on meds but, the excuses started of why she will not take meds. Our poor Nephew does not understand how a mentality illness person can draw you into their antics. In the past 4 weeks he has two hours sleep a night from running her to the hospital with phantom pain to get more pain meds, throwing her food at him, cursing, telling him she hates him and wants to get permission to have an affair. He is to come home and wait on her, make her food and clean for her, he is to ravage her body just odd ball comments. Our nephew is in The Air Force and trying to make Master Sergent and does not want to let anyone know of her mental illness because it may reflect on him. She will not cook for him the smell makes her “Sick”, she won’t clean unless he helps her because she feels that she is to good to do “Manual Labor”. Today I found out she wants another child!

    • Just an update our Nephew yet again is going to her defense. She decided she was not getting what she wanted after Texting me a horrible message she then turned on my Handicap Niece while she was in their home. Asking her was she talking about her with me and she feared for her life with my niece in the house with her alone and had my nephew throw his handicap sister out of “Her” home. Now I and my poor niece are getting the blame because we had three phone conversations in one day that WE were talking about her God Forbid. They sat my poor Niece down and started integrating her as if she was a common criminal she is a TBI patient anyone that has dealt with Traumatic Brain injury knows short term memory is not gonna happen and in stress forget about it. We got her back home safe and she wants nothing to do with her brother that would not defend her or her sister in law.
      It’s sad that one person can have so much emotional control on people and if we suggest meds and see a doctor there will be hell!

  49. I just had to break up with my boyfriend of 2 1/2 years due to a manic bipolar episode. I am just now beginning to see him as abusive even though he has been having emotionally and physically abusive episodes for a whole year.
    As you said, his delusions are convincing and what he sees (doing nothing wrong/ reacting in the appropriate manner) well, if he yells in your face enough, you start to see it as truth…But I know that it is not truth and I know that I was the best girlfriend I could possibly be to him, never trying to hurt him or do him wrong.
    The thing that troubles me the most out of this whole ordeal is that he cannot see how much he has hurt me emotionally and physically ,and overall how wrong he is. How did I let myself end up loving someone who does not care that they hurt me?
    I feel that I kept making excuses for his behavior due to his illness. I am very compassionate, empathetic and can be fiercely loyal. The worst part about me is that I think that everything can be fixed, and I can help to fix it. Now I know that there is no point throwing myself back with this boy because I will keep getting hurt.
    I miss my best friend but feel confident knowing that I made a tough decision to end this because I need to take care of myself.

    • Emily I’m going through the exact same thing as you. .. struggling to let go of someone with bipolar… and he refuses to get help. You sound exactly like me…so loyal trying to help him and just getting abuse in return. Every word of your post complerely makes sense and describes what I’m going through. I want to be strong enough to do what you did but my mind is so trained to automatically make excuses for him…

      • Sylvia – since breaking up with my boyfriend things have been good for me. At first it was really difficult and all I wanted to do was be his girlfriend again and for us to be in each others lives. But I had the support of friends, family and a therapist constantly telling me that it was not healthy for me to be in this relationship – so i listened to them and cut communication. At this point it’s been over a month and I am enjoying being by myself. I realized I had been neglecting me, and so I started doing things that I like and that make me feel good: working out, cooking, watching movies, hanging out with friends I hadn’t seen in ages. On his end he finally realized that his actions were out of hand and that there is no excuse for his behavior. It took him a while to get to that point but he got there. I know he is now going to therapy (something I had been begging him to do for two years) and is trying to live more independently although i don’t think he has found a job. The breakup is tougher on him I think because he was very dependent on me and I allowed him to be that way. I feel bad that he is sad and lonely and thinking about me all the time but there’s really nothing I can do about that. I learned that a solid relationship should be pretty 50/50 and you should never lose yourself in a relationship. I don’t know that you should stay in your relationship if your partner makes no effort to change…I can honestly say that in the first week or two leaving my boyfriend and sticking with that choice was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Now I feel so good about my decision and happy that I don’t have to endure abuse or be with someone who doesn’t love themselves enough to get the help that they need. I believe that if you choose to break ties it will be painful, but you will come out loving yourself and admiring your strength in the most amazing way. I also believe that if love is meant to be it will find a way back to you…if your partner can get himself into a better place then there is no reason the two of you can’t try dating again at another point. Sometimes you just need time alone to figure yourself out and to stand on your own two feet and not someone else’s. I really wish you the best of luck in whatever direction you chose to go with this, and hope you don’t let yourself get too hurt because there really is no excuse for abuse.

        • Sylvia and Emily, you aren’t alone…there are more of us struggling to survive with or without them. I was with my boyfriend 10 years and engaged 2. It has been 6 months since I told him to leave. I am getting my life back and he is surprisingly in therapy, under a psychiatrist’s care and taking medication. He texts me and calls me daily. I miss the him I created in my mind so much…the him that was wonderful and present about 15% of the time. I haven’t broken off all contact because i can’t stop dreaming he will change. It was a horribly turbulent and abusive relationship and I was crushed by it all over and over but my co-dependency kept me in the game. I have seen him once in the 6 months, we went to Trader Joe’s and he bought my groceries. He is a beautiful, gentle soul sometimes…but he is also a monster and he scares me to death. I am learning more and more about me and rebuilding the parts of me that are missing. I am very happy to be alone…although I have 17 year old twins to keep me very busy. I doubt I will ever find the kind of romantic love you see in the movies and I am starting to think that is just fine. You both will make it, no matter what your decisions are. Nobody will understand our pain unless they have lived it from our perspective. My original post was on Nov. 29, 2014. I scrolled down and just reread my words. I remember sobbing as I wrote them back then. My eyes teared up now, but no tears fell. That’s a sign of progress. I am healing…slowly, but healing. Peace and love to you both.

    • Emily – I am going through a very similar thing. I just split with my boyfriend after three years. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I desperately love him and I thought I would be the one to fix him. He has had three potentially lifelong relationships end in the last ten years because of his mental health problems – but he has never had a diagnosis. I strongly suspect he is bipolar, but he wouldn’t go to the doctor. I could cope with the mood swings and the depression and the hypochondia (which is the most regular of his obsessions). What I couldn’t cope with was the constant blame, the cruel words. When I tried to get him to acknowledge the effect his words and anger were having on me – nasty comments about my family, about me, always picking on something that would hurt me as much as possible – he would say it was my fault for not supporting him well enough through his illness. Yet I did everything. Every time he had a breakdown I would sort everything out. I would rush him to the doctor to get whatever part of him he thought was fatally I’ll checked out. I even bought a house with him even though I was emotionally exhausted and broken because somehow, somehow, I thought I would eventually fix him. But the cruelty got worse and worse; the fury and the blame harder and harder to cope with. Eventually I realised that however lovely he is behind the illness, I couldn’t have kids with this person. So I walked away and am now being blamed for another breakdown. But I know, deep down, that I had to do it to protect myself.

  50. This was a great analogy. As a mom I am struggling with pushing in the chairs before I get to the life boat. My other half is screaming for me to get in the life boat now but I think if I just do one more thing it might get better right? I’m the mom? Yes she’s an adult. Yes she’s responsible because she is old enough and yes however this disease is destroying me and I have allowed it. I need balance.

    • I have absolutely no respect for any psychiatrist, because they are liars, & those that want to do away with psychiatrists are the ones who know better. The drugs that are prescribed for these so called disorders are what I call desensitizers , & absolutely none of the so called sophisticated terms such as anti-depressants, because these quacks are liars! Make no mistake about this one the only way to take any of these drugs prescribed by a quack psychiatrist is to take the drugs, then never eat food ever again while taking the drugs, go on only a full water diet, & then you will never get desensitized doing this! I know what I am talking about, because doing this is absolutely beneficial! The only way that any diagnosis can be proven is by doing the experiments of Dr. Frankenstein that does involve harvesting the human brain, & that is a fact! I will talk about how the entire claim of mental health is absolutely not an option!

  51. I’m sobbing right now, writing this comment from the other end of the world:this summer I lost my best friend of 20 years-to mental ilness of some type. She didn’t want to go to doctor, she didn’t want help, she is still not admitting that she needs help—and when she threatened my husband(they were best of friends, she was my best girl at the wedding!), I knew I had to give up. But it’s so fucking hard, and what makes it harder is the fact that all the other people involved, and we were/are all incredibly close are just angry at her, full of rage. I feel like I’m the only one who is grieving for her-everything she used to be, everything she will never be again. I miss her so much, I worry so much, I feel so so guilty-for not seeing, not finding a way to help her, for not being angry, just incredibly sad, for not being loyal to the people around me-and constantly wishing it could all go back to how it was. I can’t tell that to anyone, so I’m admitting it to you. Thank you for this post, thank you for this words. I really needed to read them.

    • Your post on here is the first I have found that has helped me in anyway. After surfing for hours and hours trying to find someone with a similar situation as me.
      My mother has bipolar, it is severe. Alternating very few months or so from depressed, suicidal, underweight, non-committed, un interested – however her conversations are rather normal to me and not over baring. Her ‘manic’ episodes are so outragious, she gains a lot of weight, her appearance is that of a tramp, she drinks excessively, cruel comments fly out of her mouth. There are no boundaries with what she will say or do next. People stare in the street when she flys off the handle or does something so shocking. I am not embarressed about any of these things, however it is often infront of my 4 year old twin daughters who get extremely scared by this behaviour.
      Her mania has resulted in my sister and I along with Mums sister and her dad (my grandad) making the decision not to see her when she is like that. She is like a hurricane whirling through your house full of abuse and hysteria, she then goes home and continues with whatever whilst I am left sobbing to my husband and friends for days on end.
      This has resulted in her turning to forums and fb pages accumilating hundreds of bipolar buddies who fuel her outbursts and back up anything she does. This in turn results in her calling my sister and I bullies and that we are Stigmatising what Mental Illness is all about. She has no idea how ill it is making us. It is all we talk about, our lives are consumed with the guilt that we simply cannot see her anymore because the knock on effect it has on our own families and surroundings.
      We tried for years and years to find a solution but we simply cannot reason with her. People who do not know how bad it gets for us think we are cruel and unsupportive and it is making me so low and frustrated.
      When she comes crashing down again she listens and apologises. I reassure her that I know its an illness and she cannot help it but this does not help how I cope when she gets manic again 6 months later and I totally lose my mum.
      The decision to block her from our lives is such a hard one but I am happier in my home and don’t have to worry that the sadness is visible to my children like it is when I see her.
      Your post is the first I have read where you have made the same decision to step back. Most articles preach on about supporting the Bipolar Sufferer and stick by them etc. I can homestly say I have done that for over 20 years and it is just not possible anymore.

  52. I was officially diagnosed with mental illness at age 14, but I knew I was losing my mind by the time I was 8 years old .

    After my mind broke, my parents were well-off enough to get me a fantastic psychiatrist. I was on an ever shifting cocktail of antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers for over ten years. I have done some very bad things to myself because I (still to this day, sometimes) feel I am just..bad. But my parents (and sadly, my two amazing younger siblings) never gave up on me.

    I went to graduate school, got a great job, and am living with my fiancé I’ve been with for over 4 years.

    A lot of it is due to the fact that my parents were able to afford to get me professional help. But I also ALWAYS wanted to get better. I fought with myself constantly about all the medicines (Am I drugging myself so I don’t FEEL whats REAL? Am I such a weak person that I need to constantly be medicated just to live? Is it worth pretending? etc) But I always wanted to be better. I ALWAYS wanted to be better,,,,

    My fiancé takes care of me now in many ways. I always tangibly feel the edge of my sanity…. He sometimes feels darkness too, his is anger, but I think that having me to protect gives him direction. It sounds dysfunctional, but somehow it works really well.

    MY POINT: I agree with this article. Almost.

    WHY: Because mentally ill people do have a responsibility to TRY…. if they can. And most can. We can fail at it, but we need to try…. if we are able. I know from my travels that there are mentally ill people, who even if their brains worked perfectly, would still be manipulative users. (It’s hard to tell, though. It’s sometimes extraordinarily hard to tell because of way illness can control your logic)

    THE EXCEPTIONS: When they don’t have medicine to give them a fair shot at trying, or when their illness robs them of the ability to TRY. If you abandon them completely, when you still have the ability to help (even just emotionally… times are hard for everyone but words are free) I feel like it is not a nice thing to do at all. It is sad you would do that.

  53. I have to say, I appreciate everyone’s comments. My brother is the brother I always wanted (grew up with sisters) and ended up being a part of our family years later! (he’s really adopted and I just love him; always have and always will) The doctors probably don’t really know what’s the cause ; the brain is a very powerful machine. It’s been bipolar, dissociation, schizophrenic, bipolar again….etc and blah blah yada. I could not imagine leaving him. He used to be the funniest person growing up; full of life and passion. He never did drugs. And he’s one of the most calm, honest souls I know. Sometimes I almost wish dealing with a drug addict would be easier (although I know it is most unbearable). Not knowing what is going on in his mind and not knowing how we can help….that’s the worst feeling in the world.
    It’s been 2 years, and every day I wish I could help him and even have prayed to trade places with him so life would not be so hard on him. I’ve tried to research good doctors and treatments and I just don’t know what to do any more. If anyone has any helpful advice I would very much appreciate it.
    Please don’t hate with my response if I said anything that may have insulted anyone; I did not mean to. I’m just looking for help.

  54. I guess YOU would put a burden on someone too if God forbid,you got cancer,got into a car accident,or received a traumatic brain injury(which can change personality behaviors,etc)by something (through no fault of your own)hitting your head say. Got paralyzed…
    Enough of the whining and selfishness.Love one another.Treat others as you want to be treated.Quit whining!
    No one said you had to take abuse. Set boundaries,go to a support group for people who have loved ones with mental illness.
    I help and love my children with special needs,my parents with mental illness,and hope to eventually devote the rest of my life helping children and adults with mental illness,trauma,etc.
    People sometimes don’t heal because of selfish people in their lives.They can sense the “it’s all about me,it’s my life,your a burden,etc”attitude in them.

    • Dear Lauren

      While you have the right to your feelings and opinions and people shouldn’t force anyone to help their loved ones they cant cope with it and allow it to destroy their own lives.

      But I find it offensive to call them “monsters” and cant agree with that they are very ill people just like people with Cancer or other illnesses that can put a strain on family life including all those parents that give their lives to their handicapped children born to them. Some parents cant cope with that either and they have the option of adoption. I wasn’t best pleased with just abandon them to hospitals institutions put them out of sight basically why not just put them down if they are monsters!!
      Their brains are not working the way yours and mine are would you expect a person with heart failure to go run a marathon so why do you expect mentally ill people (who by the way haven’t brought it on themselves or chosen it!) to use their brain in a responsible manner. Those of us that do not suffer mental illness cant even imagine what it must be like for the sufferer.

      If its a partner you are looking after I think it takes a very strong person one who really understands the illness and who is strong enough not to let it ruin their own lives. I think its harder for partners as relationships are hard enough without mental illness thrown in. But if its your child or sibling then I absolutely think you can be there for them but the key is not to be living with them as both can then take that break from each other and it becomes more doable to always be there.

      My son was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at 16 years old! He was hospitalised and made good progress including working part time for 2 yrs as a postman. He then had a relapse in 2009 when his granddad died who he was very close too as he his own father was killed in a car accident when he was 3 half yrs old so looked upon my dad as his dad.

      He is struggling still but we have at last had a breakthrough with him (he is now 29yrs old) as he has agreed to have injections once a month as his medication albeit he has struggled with medication this time unlike when he was 16yrs as he thinks it poisonous or the health care workers are controlling his life etc paranoia is an awful thing as it is all real to him. My son is no monster and no mentally ill person is! He is very lucky to have a loving family including all his siblings who I made sure read up on the illness and knew what it was about and I have no fears if anything happened to me as I know his 2 sisters and his older brother will always look out for him. My son his own flat now (supported and trying to live independently) its also help that when he does feel bad and doesn’t want to be around people he can just take himself off and it also gives us the break too.
      I will never not be there for my son but I do think a relationship between parents and child is different to partners as your love for your children is unconditional and the bond so strong you just couldn’t abandon them to some hospital or institution just so your own life is perfect. I don’t judge people for not be able to continue with support but I do take offence if they call mentally ill people monsters that’s just disrespectful and to be honest the person who is ill is far better off without someone who doesn’t have any understanding of their suffering looking after them. We all have choices and we must respect those choices no one should ever be forced to caring for someone so ill if they are not able for it and they should not be made to feel guilty for that but at the same time those that cant cope with caring for them should not label them as monsters or put all the blame on the mentally ill person. Remember none of know what might be thrown at us with a bad illness that will also need care from our loved ones and think how you would feel if they just abandon you in order to keep their own lives perfect. Its similar to elderly people – I know how hard it is on families to look after elderly parents some opt for homes for them others will not hear of it – I hope never to end up in an old folks home and I have already lost my dad and my mum is 83 yrs but no way will I ever put her in a home as she is my mum and as long as I and my siblings can take care of her and keep her safe then why would I give her to strangers to do the same.

      Its all choice and my choice is to look out for my family but that doesn’t make me a better person than anyone else especially those that choose not to – we all have our own ways of coping with things or not coping with things. I see so many people making dramas out of nothing and often say ” they need to get a real problem in life! The worse thing with mental illness is also the stigma and lack of awareness and understanding by those that have never experienced it. The next worse thing is the lack of resources in helping these people to live normal lives! I have a lot of hope that my son will eventually come to terms with his illness and the thing he wants more than anything right now is to get a job and once he is stable on medication (the once a month injection will suit him better as he forgets to take the tablet form) he will find a job and be back working and feeling like a normal person again. He did before when he was much younger so he can do it again!

    • Dear Laurie/Lauren that wasn’t meant to reply to you it was a reply to Kristen and her comments on labelling mentally ill people as monsters and wanting to go back to the olden days of locking them up and throwing away the keys at least it sounds like that!

    • Laurie,

      Your reply makes me incredibly angry. It’s overly simplistic in the extreme.

      I, like the author, have nothing to do with my mentally ill sibling–unless I have to step in and protect my parents from him. And, at such time I usually have to end up involving law enforcement.

      Not once, not ever has he admitted he has a problem. He doesn’t DO anything to get better—not even express a desire to get better. He expects the rest of us to capitulate to his every whim, desire, and be his emotional and sometimes physical punching bag. He has no concept of any type of boundary. He’s never met one he won’t step over or outright obliterate. Boundaries are nothing without consequences. Sometimes the consequence for repeatedly violating boundaries is that people leave you because of your behavior.

      We all tried for years to help. Emotionally, financially, in any way we could think of or he asked us to. Support groups didn’t help us because the only way to get any relief from his behaviors was to not actually be around him. Support groups can help you learn to deal–and sometimes you have to deal by removing the person from your life. The only way for us to survive—and we have the right to choose to survive—was to let him go and close the door behind him. Like the author said, it only feels good when it stops. His behaviors and trying to deal with them and trying to be supportive of him no matter what–at the emotional expense of myself, my husband, and my children–nearly destroyed me. I choose me. I choose my husband. I choose my kids.

      I think about him daily. I want him to get help. I don’t want him to be miserable. I want him to have a life where he can actually look forward to opening his eyes the next morning rather than being disappointed it happened.

      I can’t make that happen for him. My parents can’t make that happen for him. Only he can make that happen for him. I can’t have him around me or mine because he isn’t safe to be around. I hope one day he takes the help he needs. I hope one day he has a tolerable life. I won’t be in it because to much has happened for me to ever feel he is a safe person, but I want him to not be miserable with all my heart.

      Love doesn’t cure or even stabilize someone’s mental illness. A person has to participate in their own treatment and recovery. Loved ones aren’t required to live hell. They can, and do, walk away when it’s the only way to preserve their own lives.

  55. Yes, many people are missing the point of you cannot devote your life to the toxic cycle of taking care of your mentally disabled and or Ill family member. They must be in a group home, or a nursing home or hospital, facility or with somebody who does have the ability to take care of them. A plan that should have been in place years before the responsibility was unrightfully placed on us. My whole life has been damned if I do, damned if I don’t for her, and now her needs have literally become insatiable, causing me to look back and realize how dysfunctional it’s always been. One can easily develop PTSD from being a caretaker for such a “monster” for so long.

  56. Dear Natasha,

    I love this article. One thing many people don’t understand is that often, taking care of these people is a responsibility that was put onto us in a very dysfunctional way. You start being told you have to do certain things for them, and THEN you find yourself within this web of protecting them, and taking on responsibility for them at a young age, so it is literally ingrained in your brain that having to take care of all of their needs while taking abuse from them is normal! It’s not until later you discover that you have no love in your life, and that your life has revolved around theirs. People will judge you if one of their needs are not met, it is the most toxic cycle one could endure.

  57. This article is spot on. The mentally ill can’t help they have their illness, but that doesn’t excuse their actions. I have psychosis triggered by anxiety. I’ll start hearing voices, I’ll start seeing things that aren’t there. I’ll start getting very scary thoughts. I’ll go take my emergency medication and keep my grip on reality while I endure through it. It’s my responsibility to keep control of myself, and the only time my family ever has to be there for me is when I go over the deep end and they have to be the ones who put me into the nut ward or a institution while I get a grip on reality again.

    Many say I’m different than others with mental illness. I don’t see any difference other than I’ve built a system in my mind to prevent delusions. I’m definitely no better and who knows, tomorrow I could lose grip on reality and spend two hours talking to a hallucination or plotting to kill everyone in the neighborhood while the voices give me names to add to ‘the list’. It wouldn’t be the first time, and since I’m 31, it probably wouldn’t be the last time.

    • Grover- I just wanted to ask some questions because I haven’t had a lot of answers about this. Is what you’re saying really true? Do you “know” when you’re having those thoughts? Or do you realize it afterwards? What helps you stay in contact with reality versus hallucinations?
      -Thanks— M

  58. A little over two months ago, my live-in boyfriend left in a rage to visit and accompany his daughter during cancer surgery and followup rehabilitation. Without planning anything, his temporary absence has turned into a permanent situation by me not allowing him to come back. As cold and heartless as it may sound, I gained enough strength little by little with each day he was out of the house to take a stand for myself and decide that my life was equally as important as his,

    I have spent the last 10 years of my life on his destructive bipolar roller coaster which has taken me from his pre-diagnosis days to now which included my complete support through his stages of cutting, substance abuse, manic episodes, depressive episodes, rage, “missing” episodes, physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse and financial abuse. My compassion and Christianity fueled my mission but at some point my good was used up and it was replaced with co-dependency.

    I gave everything to him freely and willingly as I tried to control his disease and treatment but without warning his disease attacked me and consumed every part of me, my life, my self esteem, my stability and my health. It became my fault that he wasn’t well, according to him, and he took no responsibility for his disease or for getting well. I was to blame for everything and I kept giving up parts of myself and my life to stabilize him, provide for him and work for him,

    He had left me before, but always remorsefully returned when his cycle had ended so apologetic and willing to work on all the problem issues. And I always believed him. Because I wanted to. Because I loved him. It was the typical model of abuse, but I really empathized with the pain and debilitating nature of his disease…plus he had so many negatives in his life where he wasn’t at fault. I saw him as a helpless victim that I just couldn’t abandon…after all, he was an intelligent, beautiful man tortured by this disease, anxiety, living his first year of life in an orphanage before being adopted by a bipolar, alcoholic mother, surviving sexual abuse by two of his female teachers, the overdose death of his 25 year-old son and the recurring cancer in his 23 year-old daughter. I felt, I too would be crazy from facing all that adversity. So I hung in there.

    Until I couldn’t anymore.

    There came a point where my survival instincts finally kicked in and I had to choose life…mine. I could no longer be a savior of others…I had to save myself.

    Reality set in, and when my 17 year-old daughter began recognizing the dysfunction as it spilled into her life, the camel finally broke. It became harder and harder for me to hide things and protect her and her twin brother from the effects. I decided that no matter how strong, intelligent and dedicated I am, I will never be a substitute for the medication, therapy and focus on wellness that he needs. And until he takes responsibility for his illness, I will remain a safe enough distance away so that I won’t be burned when he lights himself on fire…again.

    So now my “DUTY” is to get myself well, get the emotional and medical help I need, rebuild my career, navigate through my foreclosure and dedicate the next year and a half to my twins before they graduate high school and are off to college. They missed out on much of my attention along the way because his bipolar devoured my energy and focus day and night.

    The critics of people like me must lack the empathy and insight to understand my trials. I am just about as sick as him at this point, but luckily have the emotional and financial support of a wonderful family who is trying to help me rebuild the parts of me that are missing.

    And even after what I have been through, I still am in daily contact with him as he continues to tell me how he has changed and makes all the promises that I need to hear. I am thrashed back and forth and never am quite sure if it is he or his disease talking to me. I love him and this has been an incredibly painful journey for me. He broke my trust, my heart and my body and I am still trying to understand why I miss him so much.

    My ultimatum was simple…get therapy, see a doctor and get back on meds. He still hasn’t accomplished these.

  59. It is unconscionable to simply abandon a family member with mental illness and simply go about your life saying that you deserve freedom from the problems of mental illness. What did the mentally il person do to deserve to have to live with mental illness? NOTHING . They are as innocent as you are.You wouldn’t dare to say,
    “I cut my mother out of my life because she fought cancer for years, and I just couldn’t take it anymore, now she’s a bag lady with cancer, but what can I do? Taking care of her would mean I have to stop taking those extra hours at work that pay for my posh vacations. That whole cancer thing was really killing my buzz. I want to be happy and free, and I think I deserve that”
    ME ME ME
    Anyone would look at you like you grew horns and frankly anyone who would say that about a mentally ill person is just selfish, disloyal, and lacking in empathy. What the hell is wrong with you people? Where is your sense of responsibility to other people, especially your family members.
    I loved this one “The people who were compassionate enough to save me from Foster Care and adopt me were mentally ill, so I kicked them to the curb”. How loving.
    People used to tell my partner to leave me all the time after finding out I was Bipolar, even though I take my meds religiously and go to counseling.
    There is no excuse for simply abandoning someone who is mentally ill. You have a DUTY to get them care and help them live a decent life. Period. Otherwise don’t ever make a commitment to a relationship again because you are dishonest and kidding yourself. Anyone can become mentally ill at any time given the wrong circumstances. What if that happened to you. Would you want your family members to say “We just dont want to deal with this any longer-get lost” or your spouse to say “I’d love to help you with your mental illness, but I really need to work on my golf game, cause that makes me happy. Your illness interferes with that free time, so ADIOS! Yeah, I didn’t think so.

    • Dear Angela

      Well said I thought the exact same as you! My son was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at 16 years old! He has had some good years but has now relapsed since my dad died 5yrs ago. His own father died when he was 3 half yrs old so he was very close to his granddad!

      He is refusing medication and he is suffering more than I and the family are!! Of course its draining on us all and even worse trying to get the mental health medical team to actually do something to force the situation!

      He was sectioned last April but let out again after 4 weeks just because he agreed to take the medication but after 2 weeks of being sent home (he has his own flat) he was back not taking it again! He should have been given monthly injections so he had time to see the real difference medication can make for him.

      We are right back to where we were before he was sectioned constant paranoia and feeling unsafe etc etc

      I think he may eventually end up sectioned again but they say he is not hurting anyone so right now they wont force medication but he is hurting someone he is hurting himself and his quality of life!

      You wouldn’t expect someone with a heart problem to run a marathon so why do the medical department expect someone whose brain is not working properly to be able to make the right decisions for their health when the paranoia makes him fear the medication and the doctors etc

      I feel for anyone who has mental health and I feel for their family (as I have gone thought it too) but while there is blood running through my veins I will never ever abandon my son and nor will his brothers and sisters!! He will never end up on any street or die alone because he has the most important thing ever and that’s the love of a family who will stand by you no matter what! Its easy to love and care for someone who give us an easy life but try loving someone with a mental illness who really need you not to abandon them ever no matter what!!

      I will always be there for my son but if I had the power to say to the doctors now please section him and force him on medication in order to save his life and give him back some quality of life I wouldn’t hesitate but I would be there for him all the way!

      Can you imagine how scary it must be for him!!!!

      Bridget

  60. @ Maria

    I have a daughter who was diagnosed with the same as your son and she was 20 at the time. She is now 33.

    Your experience sounds pretty much the same as my own and I’m sure the same as many parents and siblings who have family members with this terrible imbalance of the brain.

  61. hi all…i live in the uk…i am daily living in circumstances that i can only describe as hell…my son is diagnosed with scitzo effective disorder…he has serious bouts of depression he isolates himself and often doesnt was for many days at a time…he frequently has psychotic episodes where he is in no way attached to reality and at these times he sees demons and hears voices and he is incredibly violent at these times usually these episodes happen several times a week and obviously wen he is violent during these psychotic episodes as im in the house with him its usually me he attacks…im often left covered in bruises…i have not family support and am totally isolated have not friends as noone wants to come see me and possibly be subject to a violent outburst from my son…therefore i am totally alone…he has no recollection of attacking me wen he snaps out of the psychotic episodes and wen he sees the bruises on me he turns then to self hatred of himself and selfharms and wishes his life away…he does not go out the house never unless on very rare occaisions and only if i go with him he says hes scared to go out of wot he classes his safety zone…and if i go out even for an hour and leave him indoors alone i regularly return to find him unconcious on the floor either as a result of an overdose or more recently panic attacks where hes hypervenilated and passed out…….so i cant go out hardly ever as he really cant be left on his own…….and wen im indoors with him and he has these psychotic episodes im attacked tho he doesnt know that hes doing it and has no recollection……..he has physical problems too him eczma is bad and by bad i mean huge patches of roar bleeding infected skin but i believe this is as bad as it is due to the fact his self care is non existant he refuses to bath for several days at a time and refuses to use the ointment and treatments he has……he says hes embarassed about his skin condition and his body but then refuses flately to use the treatment provided therefore off course it isnt gonna get better but just worse…….i have begged and pleaded for help to end this nightmare existance…….he is 20 years old and has no real understanding how ill he is or how his illness is effecting me and my mental health haveing to care for him he really has no concept or insite…….and off course he doesnt think hes ill so he is non complient to treatment and he refuses to engage with professionals……i regularly on a weekly basis call the assistance of the police and they come and attend my home address but apart from offering sympathy little they can do to help and the often leave saying its the mental health people who should be doing more……the police have even see my son in full blown psychotic episodes and attacking me and they still say they have no powers in law to do anything as hes not attacking me due to malice but due to illness…….and the mental health teams rarely come nowadays they make every excuse under the son why they cant intervene…why under the law they are unable to detain him under the mental health act…either he isnt ill enough or he doesnt meet the criteria or because he wont engage…excuse after excuse….on rare occaisions wen he has been taken to the local a and e they have simply discharged him and sent him home saying he is mentally ill and they can only treat physical illness……for the last 6 months things have got worse and everywhere i turn for help noone helps me…each with a different reason in law why they cant…..i love my son dearly with all my heart but i have the illness that has taken over and seems no escape from…..i really dont know wot to do anymore….im ment to now be getting therapy for myself as the home situation is makeing me feel incredibly down and making me feel suicidal at times…but im unable to attend the therapy i so desperately need as i cant leave him home alone and ive got noone to look after him in my absense…i was also ment to be haveing hospital appointments and possibly an operation again all of which i havent been able to attend or go through with as noone to care for my son in my absence………i have a younger daughter who suffers with acute learning difficulties she doesnt live at home she lives in a professional care home with staff to help her and teach her independance…she has been sheilded sumwot about how bad her brother is…but she knows he is unwell and she idolizes him and she often says….”please mummy help make my brother better”……please sumone tell me how can i do this….how can i make her brother/my son better….i really dont know wot to do or who to turn to for help???

  62. i think what is being left out is that there are few options for someone struggling and suffering through mental illness. Everybody says get help, but where? Every mental health facility in my area closed or we make too much money (but not really-we just get by, or there are people still without insurance. Some of the most desperately ill cannot find it. They lack that basic support. It’s not their fault. Mental health care funding has been dramatically slashed. And then people don’t want to talk about it. You might be that person’s only support and lifeline. How can you just walk away, if you are ABLE to at least listen. But to shut them out is nothing but cruelty for the sake of your own comfort, and that’s wrong. If you can’t, then help make calls and find someone who can help them. Do the right think, the loving, Christian thing.

  63. i respectfully disagree with cutting ties to your loved one with mental illness. I AM one of the ones that has struggled with it. I managed to get through college and raise two kids while dealing with this. It never goes away, even with treatment. I WAS the one asking for help, putting my self into inpatient and outpatient care. I never got real answers, and nobody but my father and brother would talk about it. Now my kids both suffer with it. I will NEVER turn them away, but I will set boundaries ( very hard for me) and use tough-love. I could not live another day if someone I loved cut ties with me. Because I know they won’t, I can go on trying. It’s different when it’s you, and the it becomes your children. Love is the one thng we have to give and ask for. BOUNDARIES, but never give up. Never walk away.

  64. I’m sitting here crying my eyes out. My 41 yr. old daughter refuses to get help. She has lost her husband, daughter, friends, numerous jobs, family, and is finally destitute. She slept in her car last night after being evicted from a friend’s house. Today she tried to move in with us, we said no, and she refused to leave. I had to call the police to get her out. We’ve been estranged since she went to live with her dad at 16 so this person coming back into our life now is a stranger to me. I miss my little girl and always hoped, prayed the rift would be mended. Not going to happen. I took my dogs for a walk and saw her sitting at a park bench. She looked so lost, so lonely and I can’t fix it. This article has been the best one for describing how I feel right now.

    • Keep loving her anyway.Go over to her on the park bench and hug her,tell her you love her!
      You don’t have to let her go agaist your rules,you can set up boundaries,etc but NEVER stop loving her,NEVER disown her.
      Pray to God for her.With Him there is always hope if you believe.
      Also,from my own childrens’experiences,divorce/seperation of parents is very damaging to a child and the abandonment/rip of security she may have felt when she had to deal with that plus living at her father’s etc contributed to her damage and psyche.
      I pray you and your daughter find comfort,peace,and restoration still.

  65. You the right to live a good, healthy life. People with mentally ill family deserve a happy life. Their loved ones may be sick, but a mentally ill person that is abusive and refuses long term help should be cut loose. I have many in my family that are mentally ill, but I am happy to say that all my children are healthy. Cutting ties with my mentally ill pack allowed my kids to grow up and know their own happiness. My little family is healthy and strong. We are not burdened by addiction, abuse or instability that untreated mental illness creates.

    I was not strong enough to say no for myself, but as parent I realized that my children deserve better than I had and more than my sick family can give. I wish that my family would get help, but I don’t cry for them anymore. Sometimes I cry for what I did not have, but the reality is that I owe myself and my children more than I owe anyone who refuses help. My tears are for the living.

  66. I was adopted at birth into a very dysfunctional family. There isn’t enough time to go into all the details so I’ll try to give you just the cliff notes. My parents divorced when I was 6 because my dad was gay. Mom and us kids then moved in with dad’s brother. I was emotionally & sexually abused by this “uncle” who my mother later married. Mom was very controlling & could be physically abusive at times. When I was 19 I managed to find what was left of my biological family. I was saddened to learn that I had a half sister living in fostercare because our biological mother had shot herself. Mom was only 23. Our grandmother who had been taking care of my sister died of cancer. Grandma had been raised in an orphanage & had some issues of her own. I’ve had 3 breakdowns over the last 15 years that landed me in hospital. It wasn’t until the last breakdown that I was officially diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. I take my medication because I don’t want to lose the only job I’ve had for the last 30 years & end up homeless. I don’t tell anyone I have a serious mental illness because I don’t want to deal with the stigma. I don’t feel strong enough to take that on just yet. It makes me sad that I could be abandoned because I have an illness. I try to live a healthy lifestyle & take my medication regularly so I can have a stable life. I believe stability is the key to fighting the stigma that surrounds issues around mental illness

  67. I would like to voice an opinion as someone who has had the misfortune of being born into a family with a mentally ill sibling. I used to empathize and feel sorry for my sister but the truth of the matter is, she has destroyed my life and my family along with her own. to the mentally ill people writing in, the difference between mental illness and physical illness is the flat out violence and negativity spewed by the one with the mental illness. physical illness does not bring to the table emotional and physical abuse that victims are expected to take because of the illness itself. a person with Parkinson’s will not punch you and scream in temper tantrums at the age of 37 for hours on end. that is the difference her illness has left me with anxiety which I’ll have now for the rest of my life because my parents forced me to listen and take it my entire life while my friends were just palling around with their siblings. I’ve seen my sister dig her nails into my parents, hit them, punch holes in the wall, scream as though demonically possessed and 30 years later nothing has changed. I wish my sister would commit suicide. I wish she did years ago. no one should have to simply sympathize with a violent sick twisted individual. would you ask the brother or family of a child molester or mass murderer to sympathize with the offender? then don’t ask me to either. I am who I am because of my earliest memories of her. when other kids were playing house with their sibling, my parents forced me to endure listening to mine punch and kick holes in the wall and scratch my parents. she can kill herself for all I care maybe she’ll finally be at peace.

    • You are a selfish bitter person that should not be welcome on this board.You are full of self pity and excuses(my sister”made me this way.”
      If a person can’t help mental illness,they can’t help it.
      My father was mentally I’ll and I grew up in a crazy,violent home.You know what I did?I loved him and forgave him and realized it wasn’t his fault.I honored him anyway.I learned compassion even while still a child.I now want to work with mentally I’ll children and adults and be a spokesperson for them.
      They can change and there is hope.Maybe your sister could feel your bitterness and knew she couldn’t be loved by you.Who do you think you are wishing she would kill herself?This world would be a better place without selfish ,cold hearted whiners like you.
      I was physically,mentally,emotionally abused by my parents and brother by the way ,growing up.And they still don’t treat me the best.
      And I don’t go around with the attitude,”poor me,it’s my family members fault I’m this way…”I try to make myself a better person and look out for the welfare of others,mentally I’ll or not.
      You should read the Bible about how Jesus said to love your enemies,do unto others as you would have them do unto you,etc.He suffered more than any of us and wrongly too!

    • I’m sorry your sister was violent but you seem wildly unbalanced and cruel yourself. You’re terribly ignorant about what mental illness is or isn’t and I hope you get help.

  68. Sorry if I was rude! I’ve skimmed over a few of the other things here & i feel I see a little more of where you are coming from, even though I don’t wholly agree. I’m sorry for you but also your brother. I try to see it from both sides as much as possible, & it is painful for any sufferer but also their family. I read the article where you clear yourself up further & I apologize for my hasty reply! I guess as someone with mental illness, I have felt very strongly. It’s very heartbreaking to be written off, even in the face of less than excellent actions or decisions. My illness effects those around me & I always try to acknowledge that & express remorse for it. It just feels like that’s the only set of illnesses where that seems to be expected or required. My mother, for instance, had breast cancer. It spread to her brain & was treated but then stopped responding. During the brief time that it took for it to completely disable her, i remember a trip where she was especially angry. For no real reason it seemed. She was ill with my dad mostly but snappy with the rest of us to a degree. I remember it because I knew it was something else, i knew something was wrong. I never would have asked for an apology or thought of writing her off. The tumors were messing with her thinking & emotions. I just feel like mental illness & addiction are always thought of as less than an illness, something for everyone to be forced to simply put up with or lay blame for. That’s what fueled the first response & I apologize for not reading further. I do stand by what I said but I made a few assumptions that I shouldn’t have as well. Very sorry for your family illness(es).

  69. A mental illness can be devastating to deal with, absolutely. It can wreck a persons life & it can disrupt everyday life for the family of the sufferer for sure. It is, however an illness. It is not their fault. It’s not fair to anyone & i get that. It’s heartbreaking often for all involved. You should never let anyone abuse you & yes, you do need to look out for your own well being if things get out of hand but what you are saying is disgusting to me. It’s truly appalling.

    I, like loads of other people, have a mental illness. It is hard for me & my family, no argument there. Treatment can help with symptoms sometimes, sometimes not at all. There’s often trouble for the mentally ill to find a medication that suits their needs, often causing patients to need to switch from one medicine to the next. This is a few week long process that can be quite difficult as symptoms may flair or resurface as one tries on a new treatment. This process is trying for the sufferer & probably the family too in turn. I’m pointing these things out because I want to make it clear that even while in treatment, mental illness is still something that all parties deal with the consequences of. I’d also like to point out that the mental illness itself- be it OCD or depression or schizophrenia etc.- can alter a person’s perception & judgement at times. The ILLNESS itself can often work against you in even seeking treatment, often convincing you that treatment is undesirable or unneeded. The effects of the medicine can just feel like a bandaid, a lie. It happens often. It goes with the territory & does not mean that the person is merely irresponsible. It’s an effect of strong & convincing symptoms clouding things.
    Mental illness can be hard to recognize for the sufferer & is always something that is hard to treat. You must get to a place or a even just a moment where you can use better judgement & seek out the professional help you need. You must try on different medications & go to counseling &/or participate in behavioral therapy. It takes a lot of time & struggle & is a Neverending process. It continues for your whole life in chronic mental illnesses. It has peaks of recovery & the pitfalls of relapse. On your medicine or off your medicine, good symptoms control or not, regular trials of life rocking the boat etc. etc. There are potential highs & lows that effect all involved.

    Mental illness is, in fact, an ILLNESS. You point that out too but you certainly aren’t viewing it in the same light as a physical illness. It’s the same. Many feel it’s a chemical imbalance in the brain, or even an actual difference in the PHYSICAL wiring/connections in the brain. There are MRIs that show that difference, whether it’s cause or effect I don’t know but it’s there. It’s real & it’s hard to overcome. It’s hard to battle through even while in treatment. It’s symptoms are often manifested behaviorally. The behaviors are extensions of symptoms, NOT CHARACTER DEFECTS.

    In mental illness is alienating. I suppose it must be alienating for the family of the sufferer in ways too, so you would think you’d be a bit more understanding. The illness itself makes you feel alone & misunderstood, but then your family starts to treat you differently too. They alienate you even more with a lack of sympathy, anger or resentment towards you for being SICK, minimization of your own pain & suffering etc. I can’t tell you how painful it is to be SICK & have your own family turn their back on you because it’s hard or inconvenient for them. I’ve spent most of my life either being told I’m crazy or being told that my illness is all in my head & I could just get past it if I tried. I’ve spent my life feeling guilty & apologizing for being SICK. I’ve spent my life being treated like nothing more than an obstacle in their way because my illness bothered them, nevermind what it was doing to me the sufferer.

    Would you be saying to abandon a person with Alzheimer’s or cancer or Parkinson’s or MS? There are plenty of physical illnesses that are devastating to the sufferer & the family but you’ll hardly find someone willing to abandon them or blame them for being sick. It’s not their fault & you stand by them even when the appointments or care becomes overwhelming or too sad or inconvenient. Somehow that’s not the case for mental illness. I think that’s horrible. It’s heartbreaking to think there’s so little compassion just because it’s a mental illness & it’s all somehow supposed to be secondary.

    Mental illness is consuming, like a fire & it’s effects are far reaching. The heat from the flames may burn your back or singe you, even blister the skin but HE’S THE ONE ON FIRE. Please try to keep that in mind.

  70. Have older brother born deaf & handicapped. After leaving home mental issues set in. Schizophrenia and some drugs. I come right behind with bipolar. It’s not about me though. We have rescued him time and again from the streets. We’re fortunate to get an opening in a nursing home in our home town so we could keep eye on him. We’re able to have him gotten off all unnecessary meds he didn’t need. But now he goes into his manipulative side and has himself severed from our making decisions in his best interest. Wants to be able to come and go at his will BUT wants to call and say he needs this and that. Doctor there knew him when he was younger and feels sorry for him. So we say fine you are on your own! Now we hear of him being out away from facility at night when he shouldn’t be. Crime is running rampant here and look anytime now for someone to have jumped and robbed him. You reach a point where you have to say enough. He may be challenged, but when his manipulative side is clear he is smarter than any of us. Nursing home is setting themselves up for big fall as well as the doctor.

  71. You’re not a professional and when it comes to mental illness it’s a very delicate balance. They’re worse without you then they are with you. It’s hard for you as a healthy person to deal with; how do you think it is for him? Don’t try to tell a paranoid schizophrenic that their delusions aren’t real it makes them anxious. Also, schizophrenia exists on a spectrum and there is more then one type of Bipolar. Further, not all Bipolar people act the way you describe. This advice is god-awful and if he dies after you cut him off you bear some blame for it. I say this as a chronically suicidal person who has been trying to work on things since I was 6. I have BPD and I have a positive prognosis from my Doctors. Guess what very little of what is said about my illness by people who don’t experience it is true. I have taken 2 page worth of medications and done many types of therapy. The side effects are terrible. You talk as a victim and show very little understanding of what he’s dealing with. Imagine if you thought you were normal and people wanted you take medications. That’s what schizophrenic people believe. To them the voices and noises are as real as you and me. They’re sick. Why do you see them as a problem? They didn’t ask to be this way. I realize I have a problem, but it’s complicated to deal with financial issues, lack of stability, trying to have the money to get meds and make appointments. While at the same time having everyone telling you you’re selfish for wanting to be dead and blaming you for your predicament. I’m well aware that this is my fault, but it’s a bit like yelling at a person in wheel chair for not a winning a race. I’m honestly doing the best I can and failing.

  72. I have a mom who is mentally unstable. She has been going through a lot of hard times before I was born. The reason why she is mentally unstable is because my relatives from my dad’s side were rude to her especially my dad’s mom which i was told a couple days ago. My childhood became very threatening and rough at times. When I was little, she would try to help me with homework and she would smack me for getting the wrong answers when I was little especially having something to say. She also tried to lock me in the garage at night when I had an untrained dog. I moved to an apartment with my sisters, my mom, and dad. I began to make a new friend and she would tell me to my face that I was not allowed to hang out with him anymore. When I lived there, she would always scream, turn up the music way too high, and restrict me from something good. A couple years went by when she always slammed doors, talk to herself acting like a devil existed, and break fragile objects. Every night, she used to bother me from sleeping in the middle night. I had to stay over at my cousins house in a month of July 2009 to take a break from my mom. On the next day, she was taken to the hospital and had to be treated. While staying over at my cousins house, my dad, my sisters, and I were going to the hospital to visit my mom. My dad and my oldest sister were able to see my mom but my older sister and I stayed in the lobby. After July, I came back home to see my mom and she got better. We moved to a new house in august 2009. Two years later, my mom went backwards by going back to the same old her she was when I was thirteen. There was times when she would put my sisters and my belongings in trash bags and throw it outside in others peoples trash cans and we finally got it back. We were always frustrated with her talking to herself pretending to talk to a spirit. Later on, she was getter better by taking medicine until right now. Currently, she’s still trying to take some medicine for her anxiety, depression, and sleeping pills. When she acts out in a crazy way, it makes me think either “do I believe she is going to change for the better” or “should I say goodbye to her because of the chaos I’ve went through with her”. Her craziness affects the family because of the things we focus on such as school, careers, and jobs. I just don’t know how to avoid this situation and her talking to herself.

  73. I have a mother who is still mentally unstable. I still feel like I’m losing her because she had hard times before I was born. My dad would always work and she would stay home all day and cook him food which is still current from the past. When I was very little, I just felt that life was threatening and rough for me because she used to treat me drastically. There was times when she tried to help me with schoolwork and she slaps me when I say the wrong answers. She began to hate our relatives from my dad’s side because of they treated her so bad. Every time my sisters, dad, and I would see my relatives, she would have a problem with it. When I lived in an apartment, I made a new friend and she didn’t condone me to chill with him so she would tell me what would happen in a threatening way. In the summer of 2009, she would always bother me when I try to sleep in the middle of the night. Because I couldn’t handle her being unstable, she would break fragile objects and had to get out of the house and stay over at my cousins in a month of July 2009. She was staying at the hospital after leaving her for a break. When I came back to the house, she became better. And two years later, it was the old mom that I didn’t want to see when I was 13 years old. During the age of thirteen, she would always try to steal my stuff and my sisters stuff and stuff it in trash bags so she throws it away. There was this one night when we finally find our belongings and get it back from other peoples yard. After the age of 13, she became better by taking medications. Right now, my mom is still going through it. I just don’t know what to do at this point. She is still taking medications and I feel like they’re not working.

  74. Angela Blackthorne:

    Scroll down a few paragraphs and read my earlier post concerning the former friend that I “ran off”. Lets just call him “Jack”. I tried my best to get along with Jack but was unable to. I put up with his insults, stupidity and general rudeness for too long.

    When I first met Jack through a friend he wasn’t that way but it seems that once he figured out I was a fairly passive person is when the trouble started. Jack and his wife started off by wining and dining me usually eating out once a week. I was given an occasional gift as well and I in turn would try to help Jack with a recently acquired older Harley Davidson Electra Glide.

    I run a small business (general machine shop and motorcycle repair) and one day Jack was over and so out of control and acting like a child a customer wound up leaving – I can’t afford that. More and more people (some are outlaw 1% bikers) come to my small shop and their always respectful, they never raise their voice as they respect my skills and abilities. Not so with Jack, he is flat caustic and despite him saying otherwise he has no skills other than running his mouth.

    Jack would criticize me over the stupidest subjects like why I still use an old plug in style drill instead of buying a cordless one. I have three lathes, two milling machines, several metal cutting saws, torches, welders and so on but he goes off on an half hour tirade of me being so stupid to not own a cordless drill! I tried to explain to him that I rarely use my old drill and my money is better spent on other tooling to no avail. I’m still “stupid” in his eyes. Why should I have to listen to him?

    Like I said in my earlier post, getting in a car with him is nerve racking. When I drove he would immediately criticize my old car for its condition and then he would “back seat drive” to no end like I had never driven before. I got my drivers license in 1969, I’ve only had one minor collision in all of those years that was my fault but Jack would talk to me like I was a teenager first time out on the street. When Jack would drive I feared for my life, he tailgates people, honks the horn and then passes them while shooting the finger replete with the most horrible profanity one can imagine. I wouldn’t talk to a stray dog that way. I fear for my life with the possibility of road rage.

    Jack is so out of it he quite often doesn’t even know what day it is and why should he have to? His wife runs the whole show, finances his drug habit and the classic motorcycle that he is running into the ground for lack of maintenance.

    Get in touch with me Angela and I’ll send Jack over to your place, maybe you can help him because I have given up.

    -Stan

  75. You’re a hypocrit Natasha for not posting my post. If you cant tolerate and opposing view you must cot have the courage of your convictions.

    • Angela,

      You can say what you want, by and large. Comments do not immediately appear when they are needing moderation, however. I do have a job and a life.

      – Natasha Tracy

  76. I find the whole topic of this article, and it’s self righteous tone to be morally repugnant.
    This is stigma building at it’s very worst.
    Trust me, no-one needs to be supported into abandoning their Bipolar friends and relatives.
    If you’re honest about your diagnosis, people practically run away screaming.
    What right does anyone have to say it’s “right” to abandon your sick parent, sibling, child
    If we were talking about someone with Kidney or liver disease, or god forbid , Cancer, YOU WOULDNT DARE GIVE THIS ADVICE. Yeah cancer is a real bummer. Often a cancer patient’s illness becomes the “negative” center of the famiiy’s world, and this is just how it is with Bipolar disorder. But you know it would be despicable to abandon your kidney patient brother, and allow him to be homeless because he can’t work and demands constant care and attention. You would certainly feel like a heel if anyone found out. It is no less despicable to “dump” someone who is mentally ill. And laugh it off, like “Oh we don’t even know where he is! Hahaha”. WHAT? That is the most inhumane and unacceptable attitude you can take. How dare you all! you OUGHT TO BE ASHAMED of failing your Bipolar family members, and even friends. What right to you have to make such judgments? What if you were the unlucky one? Would you want people to decide they’d rather go to Disneyland than help you. Bipolar Disorder isn’t a character flaw, it isn’t even a Personality Disorder. Bipolar Disorder is a serious and incredibly painful organic neuro-chemical brain disorder. Some day, a more enlightened one soon to come, you will all look back, and shudder at real crime you have committed. That you let a sick loved one be homeless, live on the street, and starve! I’m not saying they have to live with you. But yes, you are RESPONSIBLE for helping them manage life with this scourge illness. If you are someone who has done this. I don’t know how you can look at yourself in the mirror.
    You should be taking them to doctors, making sure they have their medicine everyday.Having them committed when necessary.Putting them in Rehab if they have drug problems,but you’ll have to work with them on Bipolar disorder first Working with Social Services to get them disability benefits, HUD housing, SNAP, Medicare benefits whatever you can find for them. You can NOT absolve yourself of this responsibility as a human being,and still call yourself or think of yourself as a good person. PERIOD.

    • Sorry I disagree with you. I have a twin who is mentally ill that has torn our family apart because she would rather walk away from us than to admit something is wrong with her and seek help. You cannot make someone get help. So where does your responsibility end? I am a human being with feelings and it makes me sick every day that I have lost the last sibling (I am one of four) to something that is out of our control. She had a ten year drug addiction we couldn’t fix and now she is paranoid and delusional, unable to cope with life, cannot hold a job, etc. I would rather have her locked up and know where she is and what she is doing than to have her homeless and wondering what she could be capable of doing to herself or someone else. No matter what I have done its been met with hatred and anger and total disbelief that we think there is something wrong with her when in her mind there absolutely isn’t. She has lost her friends, her job and soon to be what is left of the little family she has, she had made her childrens live living hell all the while crying she is mother of the year. I chose to walk away and it eats at me everyday. My 80 year old mother can no longer cope with her. Her children do not speak to her and her husband is staying at his moms house (against my wishes leaving the kids with her) so he is able to sleep and maintain a job otherwise they would have no income to survive on. I pray he leaves her and takes the children with him and she is left rotting in the house without any food nor electricity because we have pretty much came to the conclusion until that happens she will not get help, hell she may not then either. Sad situation but I cannot function everday of my life and worry until I am sick in order to take care of her because she doesn’t think she needs to be taken care of. It sounds awful, I feel awful. All those around her are losing their sanity trying to make her get help and its a mute effort.

  77. My family is mentally from one side to another. I was lucky enough to just ha e bipolar. My siblings have schizophrenia and are scarey to say the least. I have disowned my family because I cannot cope with their craziness as well as my own. I do take take of my mother but there are days I want to send her packing. Everyday I have to hear her say how nobody loves her and she wishes she was dead. I told her one day I wish she was too because we would both be happier. This has gone on for four years and I am slowly losing my sanity with it. But sometimes you do have to say goodbye and walk away because there is not a doctor , teacher, priest, or healer that will tell you that you should put aside your own happiness for somebody’s misery. We can only hope the sick person makes a choice that will help them. But you cannot force a person to take medication. And if they choose to be crazy, too crazy to be healthy, or too crazy and dangerous you have to think of your own health and safety first. It is hard when you love somebody but I feel if they love you back they would work on getting better for themselves and their family. Bipolar can be managed, I do it everyday. I take my meds and see my doctor and have been in a very wonderful relationship for almost 14 years. Before that I could not keep people in my life for more than a few months. It just takes a commitment to want to be better instead of lazy excuses and bottomless promises. I would walk away from me too if I was not medicated because I am horrible.

  78. RE comments

    You are a classic bubble person.You cant see outside your own box. You sound unstable to me.Your family needs you.There are healthy ways to be apart of a mentally ill person’s life. The worse thing you can do is shut them out. Your family needs you and you need them. I think you have to take off your rose colored glasses and take a long hard look at yourself. After all the apple never falls far from the tree.

  79. Laurie:

    Just remember what you said to your family , “I had thoughts of killing them”. If you said that to me I would have rejected you just the same! Don’t blame your family or Church people for rejecting you, nobody should have to live in fear for their lives which is what YOU have projected. Step up to the plate, take responsibility for YOUR WORDS and realize the consequences.

    -Stan

  80. How HURTFUL!!! I have been disowned by christian family members that I knew for 8 years due to my mental illness.BUT I DID ask them for help and got betrayal,rejection,and abandonment instead(along with my 3 children)
    In Oct.2013,I told them I had bad thoughts of killing them.I have reactive attachment disorder.I asked them,along with my counselor to come in and do therapy with me.My family refused.I said I was sorry and needed,wanted help.We all went to the same church too.I ALWAYS was there for my niece(she was 19 when this happened)she turned on me too.
    So they had 4 cop cars come,threw me in a psych ward(which I was left in a cement room all night with no counseling offered,no blanket.
    I got out at noon the next day.My brotherinlaw refused to hug me,look at me,etc when he picked me up.
    The next day I got a restraining order and my sisterinlaw and niece lied against me in court.They had me arrested on Thanksgiving Eve claiming I tried to jump in front of their car,which I did NOT do.
    We live right near each other so all this time they have walked by,driven by,all the while ignoring me and my kids,treating us like were invisible.I tried again to say I’m sorry,was in an “episode”didn’t mean it,etc.
    They tried to get a restraining order one more time on May 5th,214 but the judge didn’t grant it and they even said I obeyed it.We tried to go back to the church even and they basically treated us like crap(my family members)
    So now it’s a very painful existence and I have not been able to move.This rejection,being disowned by the only family I ever knew has exasperated my mentall illness pain and problems.
    The worst part is they dumped me without warning and I never got to express what I want to say,my pain,etc.
    The least they could have done was tell me gently and lovingly to my face that they couldn’t deal with a relationship with me anymore,maybe given me some closure.Sometimes I’ve thought about suicide over this but try to hang on for my children.
    The pain is rehashed EVERY time I see them and they won’t allow me to talk to them either.I am nearly destroyed!

    • Hi, Laurie. My heart goes out to you for what you’re going through. I can’t speak for Natasha. All I can say is what I understand when i read what she wrote in her blog post. I believe she is saying that sometimes it is necessary to walk out on someone who has a mental illness and won’t seek and receive the help they need. I don’t believe she is saying this to people who realize they need help and are very proactive in obtaining the help they need.

      If I understand correctly what you have said, Laurie, you have already realized your need for help and are doing the very best you can to get the help you need. It sounds like your family needs to be more understanding of you and what you are dealing with and needs to realize and accept you just the way you are and surround you with unconditional love as you do what you need to do to be well. It sounds to me like you are being very, very proactive in getting well and that your family and other people at church need to stop being so judgmental. The church needs to be more understanding of people who struggle the way you have struggled and needs to come along side you and offer whatever help you need that it can give you and to just be loving toward you in whatever situation you are in.

      Please don’t hurt yourself. It sounds as if you need to consider avoiding going to the church that has turned its back on you. If you are still interested in going to a church, you may find it helpful to just try out a few different churches and see what they are like. Or you can find spirituality in a different way if you feel you need to. You may also need to just stay away from the people in your family who have unfortunately believed wrongly about you. I know it may hurt to have to avoid those who should love you, but if you feel more hurt by being around them, it may be a good idea to avoid being around them for now—so that you can give yourself a better chance to heal.

      Keep on moving forward in your healing, and surround yourself with people who are supportive of you in your journey.

  81. This made me cry.In my life it is my daughter.My beautiful,amazing,love of my life daughter.She doesn’t believe she has a problem,that I am practically evil incarnate.Things she says are coming from a place on non reality.I have tried to help and she gets verbally abusive.I finally had to tell her that I wasn’t walking away and I would be here if she needed me but I had to step out of the line of fire.Hardest thing I have ever done.Incidentally she is a therapist.

  82. About a month ago I “ran-off” a former friend of mine, he exploded on me and the owners of a small car lot where I had just purchased a used vehicle. I’m tired of the insults, the criticism, the lies, explosive anger, loud profanity and so on. As a Christian I have tried to be tolerant, understanding and patient. This is a person that contributes nothing to his family as his wife does everything for him. His daily routine is to sit in front of the television and smoke weed. He doesn’t mow the yard, do any shopping, make out checks for the bills or anything that requires responsibility. He will constantly criticize me and others while being totally wrong on various subjects. He has a grown daughter that shows the effect of constant verbal abuse, it is so sad. Without his wife he would be one more homeless under the bridge.

    I have finally figured out his behavior is not to hurt me or others but to mentally build himself up (feeding off others) or he will become very depressed. Still, I don’t like being cussed at when I tried to help him with his motorcycle at my own house. I fear for my life when I get in a car with him as he will tailgate people, honk and then pass them while shooting the finger. He is extremely controlling and will go ballistic when you don’t give him attention. He is a 3 year old trapped in a 57 year old body – he is not a man.

    I don’t like being mean but I now feel good about myself. From time to time I remind myself that Jesus got fed up one day and tore up the temple.

    Thanks for listening,
    -Stan

  83. I’m at my wits end. My husband is suffering from depression. Every time something goes wrong at work his mood plummets and in between episodes he is lethargic, rude and just being around him is so draining. He won’t lift a finger around the house and procrastinates over the smallest of tasks. I suffer from severe depression myself and have spent many years in a fog but two years ago I changed my lifestyle and got interests and found a medication FINALLY, that worked for me. I can not believe that for the first time in my life I am content but now have to deal with him. The thing is, I always helped myself through those years, yet it’s been 2 years and he hasn’t even seen a doctor. He won’t talk about anything, he stews and then 3 days later finally tells me what’s on his mind, after much prodding. I don’t know what to do. How do you help someone who won’t help themselves?
    He constantly puts me down and cannot find the positive in anything. I’m scared my own mood is starting to deteriorate and I don’t know what to do. I threaten to leave if he doesn’t get help, then he says he will and two months later still hasn’t seen a doctor.

    • MEN….it is so hard to get them to go for help! I went through something similar. Right after a 6-yr-hell of basically being a vegetable on too many meds for a horrible bout of bipolar disorder, I got better. And then my husband crumbled. My mother died of cancer shortly before I became better, and it just devastated him, even worse than it did me..for him it was the last straw, I think. We are/were close to my mother and father. He ended up in a mid-life crisis, along with severe depression and anxiety. I couldn’t believe it, I was very angry with him. After all, it was MY mother that had died, and now he was acting like I didn’t exist, giving me no support whatsoever, even moving his clothes out of our bedroom and sleeping on the living room floor.Just really odd behavior. He became convinced I was going to divorce him, and set about making it a self-fulfilling prophecy by being the biggest jerk he could be. My normally affectionate husband became someone I didn’t know, someone intent on making me suffer for all the wrong I had supposedly done him. I didn’t know what to do. My counselor suggested that I figure out my boundaries, and fast, because it was affecting the kids so badly. After about 5 months, I figured out my boundary when he started drinking to cope with his depression. I told him he was self-medicating, and that if he felt he needed to drink, he needed to be on meds. He disagreed. He felt that the drinking would help him cope just fine. I said okay, if that is your choice, I will take the kids and go live with my dad. He knew I meant it. He then chose to start medication, which worked. After a month, he came out of the crisis and his mood lifted. He was incredibly angry when I laid down that boundary, but deep down, I think he really wanted it. He wanted me to show I wouldn’t settle for the status quo. I can’t tell you what to do, or if what you do will work, but I can tell you what worked for me, and how my husband now knows where he stands. He has to take care of his mental health, too. It isn’t a one-way street.

  84. Here are some things my adult sister has done:

    (1) Drove me a few miles from home, abandoned me, and lied to her children about it. (=claimed I refused to ride home in the car with them because I was angry at them; I found out about this when the children repeated what she’d said to their grandfather)
    (2) Lied and said she couldn’t remember telling this lie to her children (when I spoke to her the next morning)
    (3) Hung up on me
    (4) Screamed at me over the phone

    I spoke to her about this last summer. She said that she couldn’t remember why she had gotten so angry with me that she drove off and left me, but that I must have put some kind of emotional pressure on her and that I should apologize to her for having done that. (We were having a normal conversation; I don’t know what set her off.)

    She claimed she couldn’t remember telling the lie to her children, but said that it wouldn’t matter if she did say it because it wouldn’t have changed how they felt about me and besides anything she said would just have been to reduce the level of emotion. She was clearly lying when she said she couldn’t remember telling the lie.

    She said it didn’t matter that she abandoned me a few miles from home because a relative drove out to pick me up.

    She has told her children other lies about me, both in my presence and when I’m not around. The other lies I know of are “convenience” lies rather than malicious lies.

    Her children are lovely, and I used to be close to them. At this point, I don’t really have a relationship with them.

    Are these kinds of blow-ups indicative of bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder? They only seem to happen when there are no witnesses, and I am the main target. I’ve heard her say abusive things about other relatives, but not in their presence. Later on the storm seems to blow over and she is on good terms with them again. I am the only person she is openly confrontational with. (Although our father says she has hung up on him, too.)

    I’ve spoken to my other sister about it. She says that these are isolated incidents, so it might not qualify as a pattern of behavior. I feel that if I hadn’t started limiting contact , this type of thing would have happened repeatedly. (I no longer take phone calls from her, I don’t ride in the car with her, and I don’t see her when she comes to town. On the other hand, we are still in email contact and I don’t badmouth her to the family).

    Are these actions indicative of bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder? Our family is sort of quietly dysfunctional but not aggressive or confrontational. She has had a couple of episodes of clinical depression, but the last one I know of was 11 years ago. The family she married into does seem to have a history of confrontational and aggressive behavior.

    Thanks.

  85. I am new to this sort of thing but I am desperate. I am/was the significant other of a man diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar. He had treated for bipolar years before we me and for some reason, was not taking medication (fell through the medical cracks). Over the 3 years we have been dating, i noticed uncontrollable mood swings and spent alot of time “walking on eggshells” for the next episode. he finally sought help and is seeing a psychologist and psychiatrist and has been on medication for about a month now, although not at theraputic levels yet. last week, he had another episode which lasted longer than usual and he became extremely angry and negative. His agression and attitude seem to be directed toward my 20 year old which I will NOT tolerate in MY home (we live together but he maintains his own home). We had an escalated fight in which he elected to “move out”. I am fine with that as I will not tolerate his behaviors anymore. It is destroying me and my children. he is not physically abusive but the emotional abuse is far more than I can handle. I do love him and when he is feeling “good” we have a wonderful relationship. he has no support other than me, my family and my friends.

    I cannot get his counselor to call me back – I think he withdrew permission to speak to me. What advice can anyone give me – do i stop talking/texting altogether? he seems to have – says he’s DONE. do I reach out to him and ask how he is or do I just let him go and hope that he is taking his meds and getting help?

    • Hi Beth-It sounds to me like you have set your boundaries, and your S.O. chose not to abide by them. There isn’t much you can do about this, since he is the one who left. It’s your call, but I’d give it time. Speaking as a person with bipolar, it can take many weeks to recover from an episode and he may be putting the relationship and everything else aside in order to help himself get better. (I may be wrong on that, but I’m just throwing out one possible reason he is not communicative.) If, in a few weeks, you connect with each other, you may be better able to gauge if the relationship is worth it or not. I’m no expert. It’s just what I would do.

  86. My partner was given an initial diagnosis of bipolar disorder and then basically cut loose because of inter-department screw ups. My problem is that I’ve always been a nervous, flaky type and I’m finding myself over reacting to his moods when they are difficult. To my eternal shame, I have found myself shouting, banging and crying when I should be seeing through the actions and words as I usually do. No fighting or threats or anything like that on either side, just heightened arguing. But I feel like an abuser, and I am more apologetic now than ever. If anyone here has been through or is going through something similar, could you please share? x

    • Hi Vee-My husband is very sensitive, too. We share equal responsibility for arguments and moods, as both of us can be volatile with moods, actions and words. I have bipolar disorder-I’m disabled by it. I have periods where I instigate arguments-usually hypomania. It’s taken us years to learn how to live around each other due to my bipolar and his anxiety/sensitivity. I hope you aren’t shouldering the entire burden of blame. The first thing is to realize that having bipolar disorder is not an excuse for acting however and saying whatever a person wants (neither is being nervous and flaky). We are ALL responsible for our behavior! You say you should be “seeing through the actions and the words” of your partner. That is true, but it’s also like telling yourself you should not have feelings and should suck it up just because the other person has a disorder. It takes a tremendous amount of work on both sides in order to function in a relationship like this. I would suggest starting with setting some boundaries for your arguments…something easy for both of you to follow at first. For instance, my husband and I do not allow “past attacks”. In other words, if I start some dumb thing we disagree on from the past that has no relevance to our lives today, he refuses to rise to the bait. And vice versa.

  87. Natasha, your article suggests to me that it is you that has the serious mental illness. Not only are you behaving as an armchair psychiatrist, which even in the most educated is a pseudo science in itself, you are soliciting others to hire you based on your own mental illness. Yeah, how does it feel?

  88. I think the amount of comments left here speaks for itself. I have a brother who has never been diagnosed, or sought help, yet we all think he has big mental heath issues, which possibly could have been helped a lot by medicine but he would not see a doctor about it, as he felt that they’d just put him on anti depressants. He struggles with a lot of social issues, tends to freak people out (mostly his family), inappropriately shouts during social gatherings, pontificates, feels he knows everything yet he does not work full time or even wash sometimes and is just difficult and rude and seems emotionless and stares blankly through you sometimes. I have just said my goodbyes to him, and it didn’t end nicely at all. I snapped at him as he turned up to a family gathering recently. But he has not visited my elderly mother in months, because he showed up to her house on his Birthday in one of his moods and left her house, he blames her for a lot of crap from the past. while she was no angel and both my parents f’d up a lot of our upbringing, she did her best and is not a bad person . He wallows in the past and can’t be happy, he is too difficult to be around. My mother always ends up feeling sorry for him and letting him back into her home after his tantrums…but this time I am finished with him. If he admitted there was a problem with his personality I would stick by him if he sought help, but it is the rest of us and not him. None of us are angels, but it can’t be all of us, he has fallen out with too many of us for it to be us. I can’t stand his arrogance, his lack of regard for others, and the fact he keeps looking back. His demeanor is one of meanness and spite, and it boils my blood when he gives the cutting sort of answers a bully gives to a child in a playground when one of his family ask him a question. I am done being a martyr or letting him hijack Christmas, social outings or anything else any more, first sign of him and I am walking now. Good riddance.

  89. one last thought.
    sorry i can not type, try not to own another person their actions or emotions.
    Own your own actions and feelings.

  90. Often the person you are tough loving needs to be away from you in order to get healthy.
    as a survivor of them ot inhumane abuse yea, i speak from experience.

    if anyone a cancer patient or abuser manipulator, bipolar borderline what ever, hurts you leave.
    write them a letter have a friend mail it don’t leave a return address just go.
    even if you have to run away from abusive parents in the middle of the night.
    go get help. leave. get safe, talk to someone you can trust who can help you or find someone who can.

    don’t mess around it might cost you or them their lives.

  91. My severely mentally handicapped sister is still being looked after by my 85 yr old dad ,I want to have her come live with me for a better life . My father can barely look after himself he can barely walk . My sister is not having proper meals , no exercise except to the dustbin up the yard I am so very worried about her . He is not taking her for mammograms even though our mum died of breast cancer please help me .

  92. I detached from a mentally ill cousin several years ago, but couldn’t detach from my sister. God knows what their problems are, they can’t tell the truth about anything, including their diagnoses. I am grieving for my sister. I will miss her in many ways, but I’m 43 and she is 41 and it’s time for me to live a life that doesn’t involve her problems. I have bipolar disorder, and was hospitalized several times while trying to help her and had many breakdowns after the hospitalizations. For years, my refusal to believe that she couldn’t be helped hurt me, nearly caused my husband to ask for a divorce, and I put my autistic son in the background because my sister was so needy. I am disgusted with myself. I saw the light three years ago, and tried to reduce the amount of time I see my sister and back off the relationship. She will not have it. I’ve never met anyone so determined to refuse to live in reality. It is her way or no way, so I choose no way. They say you have to hit rock bottom before you will change. She has hit rock bottom I don’t know how many times, and there is never a change, only lies, excuses, and a refusal to see that her problems are caused by herself. I hope someday I can be at peace with this, but I doubt I ever will. For now, my grief is very intense and has caused yet another bipolar episode that I’m struggling to overcome.

  93. Thank you so much for writing this! I was manipulated, verbally and emotionally abused to a point where I needed to get therapy because I was trying to hang in there and had suffered through so much selfishness and loss. I was lied to by my ex about him getting treatment beyond meds, him taking the meds and him being faithful but the great thing is I have a brand new life and ironically when i left things totally changed in my life. Although I pray for him often, I know- true love does what it takes, true love doesn’t hurt or abuse and this article confirms that allowing him to walk his path alone at this point is the best thing to do. Thank you for writing this article and helping close a beautiful chapter to my life. :-) Well said….well written , well felt

  94. I am 42 year old woman with bipolar disorder and social phobia. Initially been diagnosed with clinicaldepression. But one day things just started feeling wierd. Like i was on a rope that was greasy and i couldnt help but just keep slipping farther down. I didnt know it but the next three years would be pure hell. I had to have gall bladder surgery in August of 2009. After that i felt as if i just couldnt get back into the swing of things. Life, work, relationships. So i began to realuze that my meds may need to be adjusted. At the beginning of the year i had called the local mental health center and didnt get an appointment for 6 months. I had gone to my first one just before my gall bladder surgery. After that it was just a fast spiraling down into darkness. I was put on 3 different meds before i fi.ally found a private counseling center that also prescribed meds. I was thrilled. But that was shortlived. The APNP ther misdignosed me and i went into the deepest depression ive ever experienced in my life. Appt after appt medication after medication…nothing changed. So i decided to get a second opinion. I did not tell her this, however, i told my therapist. It took me several weeks to get an appointment to see a psychiatrist at the hospital. When i went in she began asking me normal questions, then out of nowhere she said,” why are you here?” I told her to get a second opinion. She then said ,” i dont know what you think is going to happen but i am NOT going to sign off on your. disability”. Evidently, the APNP that i was currently seeing, emailed the psychiatrist ( i had mentioned her name in therapy) and sabotaged my second opinion. This was the only way that the shrink would know about my diability claim. She also told me to quit acting, pick myself up, pull myself together and go back to work. Then she dismissed me like a child in afterschool detention. I was mortified…and furious. I had my husband take me to the couselingoo center and i requested to see the director. I told her what had happened to me. Of course, im the unstable person so so the only thing that happened was that they changed me to a different APNP. This woman had me diagnoseda on the correct meds in the first visit. It was amazing. I began to immediately get better. I had been so sick for so long. Fortunately, my family didnt give up on me. I was never addicted to anything or abusive but looking back i did engage inrisky behavior, go on spending sprees, have grandiose dilusions etc. I had no idea back then that i was ill but i knew as i got older, there was definitely something hinky. Dont give up on the ones that know theres something wrong. Cut loose the ones that are abusive and in denial about their illness.

  95. I’ve abandoned my brother who has put me through hell for 40yrs. Hes been in numerous treatment programs – kicked out of them all – veterans hospitals – kicked out of them all. Thrown out of multiple homeless shelters for his violent behavior. He refuses to take his meds. Hes abusive physically and mentally. He hit my sister in the face giving her a black eye. He calls my work at random to say what a bitch I am. Delusional and homeless, hes burned all ties to friends and family. I’ve given him money numerous times, bailed him out of jail, bought bus tickets, worked with his doctors and the veterans hospital. Year after year after year. He doesn’t change or try to be any better. I’ve done my best and now its time to get in the lifeboat. The Titanic has sunk and I’m lucky I didn’t drown with it.

    • Hi adrea . Iv been reading on here again today . Im not sure wether ur story or such was referring or in reply to wat id written on my brother . But may I ask ” in all concideration n respect fr urself . But how on earth do u give up on somebody ? No my brother and I havent spojen for over 2 years now but that is his wish not mine . Iff I see him I do say hello n his name to him . He sumtimes will turn his head or say a hi or maybe a bad look to speak. But I cant understand as u said yes ur brotger has did terrible things such as hotting ur sister etc . Wich I akso have n seen these same doings ether to myself or twards other family members . Iff I ever turned my back or compley such as uv said uv now done . Id never eva be able or would neber forgive myself nor any that in my family that have jyst turned there back iff or wen I say that time does come thy the sick illed arent here no longer to speak ” . Im sorry u also had this and I vompletly understand wat uv gone thru and as said all is entitled to give up or as u said this . I just dont see how I guess or how ud b iff anthing bad happened to ur brother on how ud live nowing ud gave up . Why not still always let b nown ur there but no not do as uv said all the helps ud did for so many years . Instead be on the side of the fence I call it . Its very hard I no to deal wth but I cant understand why people completly leave or dont no longer just let them no ” we are here if thy want help or need us ? Iff it was myself id not want my loved ones to turn there backs no I wouldnt but then I xant really say because im not mentally ill or on drugs or etc I guess . I wish ur brother would also stop n get help as I wush my own would before its too late is the only way I see it im sorry to say .

  96. I am a person with a mental illness and I can understand both sides of the coin so to speak.

    I have had people walk away from me for various reasons but the last person who walked away probably got sick of my never ending confused state, mood swings and negativity in general, I wasn’t abusive in any way but I was certainly a painful person at the time.

    Since then I have gotten to a better place in life and I tried to reconnect with this person to no avail, may I also add that this person has issues of their own as well and perhaps they could be clouding things for them but for now I have given up on ever rekindling the friendship.

    I think the blog owner had done what she feels is right for her, sometimes it is difficult to cope with someone else’s illness especially if it’s on a full time basis, people have the right to walk away anytime they want without being criticized or judged by people, especially by people who know very little if anything about the situation however a person with the illlness also has the right to decide who to trust in terms of people coming in and out of their lives and when they’re at their best again they may just decide not to allow the person who walked away from them when they were at their worst back into their lives because they don’t know if that person will walk away again.

    I know on a few occasions when people have walked away from me when I’ve been at my worst have tried to come back when I’ve been at my best and it does depend on who it is whether or not I will allow them back into my life and trust them again, if it’s family I will usually let them back but if it’s a friend or acquaintance I may not be so willing to let them back in and trust them again.

    From my perspective having someone walk away is very painful especially when you needed them the most and the friend I referred to above…I needed them the most as I was getting out of an abusive relationship at the time and preparing to move interstate….

    This is just my perspective on it but those who have passed judgement on the blog owner or others in her position, please don’t do it unless you have truly been in a situation similar to theirs.

    • Sel if ur story was or is in referal reply to wat id origionaly wrote on here bout my brother . No I have never given up on him or walked away by my choice . N I never have or would . It is my brothers choice he dont speak to myself or it us simply the drugs or wat illnesses on top im unsure of as im not a doctor or such . It is these that make him the way he is abd these that do his decisions for him . I csnt talk help etc if he gets violent n very scary at times alot if ive seen him in past or still . If iv said anything not much at all as he is beyond himslf n as said hes not him self one bit but I cant pysh myself upon him or herf hes not wanting to speak or anthing . Therefore I never hav walked away im here he nos im here n always will ve here if needs . Im trying at present to deal with I guess my own n my parents the way I see wats goin tohappen . I guess . Besides watching n hearing all of more iv said hes doing . And finding it all so confuding or helpless is the right word .

  97. Robyn: Let me begin by saying that I am so deeply sorry for the anguish you are going through. As a recovering alcoholic of 44 years and a sufferer of bipolar disorder I can only speak from what little I may understand of what you…and your brother are going through. Your brother quite possibly has several illnesses going on here.
    First, the system, as you probably are aware is so overburdened with the explosion of mental illness/ drug-related mental illness and addiction. Have you tried county agencies? or Narcotics anonymous? as you my dear, need help from NA & Narconon as that is where you will find others who have family members with this addiction. And there you will find suggestions as to where else you might go to receive additional help for the illness apart from the addiction. It is imperative that you get help before you drown in the worry and anxiety of dealing with a loved one who is ill-and it does sound as if your brother is very critically ill.
    Thing is, you need to be strong and have a clear understanding of what his issues are before you are able to be a support for a mentally ill/addicted brother without hurting yourself in the process. God bless and don’t forget that prayer has power and it works.

    • Thanku marcia . I rote on hete saturday about my brother . I actually didnt expect any replys or responses to this . Wich is why im saying thanku :) although yes I have been to several drug and alcohol or A/A N NARCOTICS meets that discussed and I learnt quite alot from going to these . At the last time I went to the merts I havent been since . Simply because I did not I gueess like or agree with what I was said to or the groups some of the groups outcome on there opinions . Whether thy are right or wrong ill never no but all is to yes of coarse there own opinion . . So no I dont go anymore to any of the meets of these kind as said some or most said to myself that my brother was n is not wanting help or helping himself wich I no this is right . But I lustened to those people and they told me to break away from this large huge problem with my brother as thy all said the same . He dont want help and he is and will bring myself snd all family doen with him . Which thwn tht was just over 2 years ago now .and I listened and said to my family I cannot deal with this snymore or also because im not a strong person I guess its very hurtfull but I regret now even tho my brother didnt want to lusten or wabted my offers on help or anything . But I secerly regret not standing still amongst this o going and worser than ever now . Because I no with my heart as was very close out of all the family me n my younger brother with this great illness n asdiction hes not fighting it and I am a little mad at these a/a n drug meets places I went to . In my own way be ause my brother will nwver ever speak to me since I said I cant keep running around after him if he dont want help or himself . Now its at I call a extent its rick bottom I dont see orfeel he m brither wants to or will live or get the help he needs . No I dont no what his illlnesses are I have ideas but no im not a doctor or someone to actyally really no . I go by what I see and hear and I guess I compare with my childs father ehom I mentiond was exactly same but as said im no one to compare I guess or cant . Im angry that nothing no courts will even do somthing with him running around as ive said .if not for his sajes ive akso said to numerous police . What about sum innocent person ether a driver wen my brothers driving with sheets covering all windiws etc frim parano yer he may accidently hit sumone ? Etc the lust gos on n on iv said to police as thy dont care clearly . Not for him my brother I no but uts also innocent other people wether driving or walking past my brother that hell harm out of his paranoid delusionad state . N yes its his choice to want help and fight this drug addiction I no . But a unstable minded person is not able to make clear or the right choices are they ?? I see ut this way anyhow so thankyou very kindly tho for your sugestions but iv been to these narcotics annonyms meets etc and I dont really no who or what is left honestly . Thanku also for ur prayers its greatly appreciated and im very very thankfull somebody just listened

  98. Hi I have been reading threw alot of the problems tonight on here above . Ive read for hours and hours . None of these people or there problems are the same to what im really badly desperatly needing advise on . I myself dont ever say as to some that have a mental illness to avoud them . My problem is at this moment and now entirely about my brother . He is 38 years old he was always a hard worker a shy good hearted mssn . Untill yes he went thru a divorce and to cut it short he started useing speed for 2 years roughly then he met a woman wich I dont blame but was on heroin and he then hit heroin and this is now going back 6 years or more sgo . He now has any drug including ice . Wich has made him always very badly deludional psycosis etc . He truly beleves people are following him and going to kill him . He has been in and out of the 24hour mental hospital in my area . But now thy wont even take him because all thy say is he is a drug addict wich yes I admit yes he is but how is he to get help or live without compulsive runing from nothing in reality if no body will take him . ? He has depression from divorce and I as his sister strongly beleve this is near at ends meet . The last few or 6 years has taken toll on the whole family . We are a small family some of us dont even speak anymore because they never believed in what I was trying to tell them . Im very concerned he will kill himself within weeks . I seen my mum today wich she usually hides things on his behaviour etc but today she let everything out . My brother has been in trouble the last 2 months with police issues . On smashing my parents cars deliberatly out of paranoyer id say trying to kill himself or seeing maybe these people he beieves are out to kill him and drives into poles etc . Leaving the scenes hes been charged for these 3 times also hes demanding money now wich hes never fone before . Hes had a knife to my parents for money wich also been arrested for n attempted arson only to his self property believing people are inside his hoyse . He attended court last week on all these offences wich he is on bail and due back un court in nother month . He has in this time in 2 and half weeks ordered by the court he must attend a drug rehab in our area town . But in this 2 and hakf weeks I strongly no and believe he will be not here by then . He will kill himself by then . This is unbearable watching my mum especally getting up all night pikking my brother up from tes paddoks or anyware he is or myst feel no body can see him . Secluded quiet parts she my mum or dad tht r seperated 30 years ago drive around till daylight because he my brother will b in states of delusional of again he wint go into any houses as he says the killers will get him . I do have my iwn personal experience befre my brother went or got to this stage with my childs father exactly the ssme things . He hung himself 3 years ago in december xmas day . As he said to me the last thing he said was he cant stand running anymore and he wont let the killers get him first and hung up . 3 weeks lata after tryed phoning him several times as hed often disapearbut this time hed bein I his flat yes hung himself . This I the exact identical situation my brother is having . The psycosis delusional even the dangerous side to him as my childs father had . My brother tells my parents and siblings if 2 others these similar wirds also now . Hes now at the moment wandering streets hiding or phoneingmy parents individually saying cum get him the killers are not far away abd if they dont pik him up he will kill himself . The police do nothing . The mental team do nothing . What are we supose to do . Stand by and just wait fir the same call I got for my childs father hes dead ?? My mum is scared of him at times other times sges sorry fir him and has did evrything I can think of to get him help . Pls help wgat else can we do . I need somthing tonight or tomorow some keynd if sugestion . He is goung to die an im so sik of waiting for a call hes dead . I want or I need for him to get help asap please

  99. Can a person who is bipolar and untreated for over 30 years also have another disorder that goes along with bipolar? My new husband of 4 months lies constantly. He lives in Canada and I live in the states and we talk daily on Skype or the phone except when he takes off for the whole day to go shopping or gambling and forgets about me worrying about him. He’s also left me on Skype for hours after telling me he would be right back and I waited like a fool while he went out the door to the casino. When I ask him when he’s coming down to Florida to be with me he says next month and he’s been saying that since February. He told me I have adult separation anxiety disorder. He started smoking again and lies about it. If I question him he gets very irritated with me, puts me down and will ask me why I am causing drama or he’ll say he cannot wait to read my new story in my book, I’m spoiled, etc. If I say can’t, won’t, don’t he gets verbally abusive and he also tells me he does not do stress so if I get him upset he walks away. He’s also taken $10,000 that I gave him to save for after our wedding and he won’t tell me how much is left. I think he gambled it all. My self esteem is kind of low at this time and I’ve started seeing a therapist for depression. She’s advising me that I cannot fix my husband and I need to divorce him because of his behavior towards me and she believes he may be a narcissist. For some reason I think I’m addicted to his personality because it is difficult for me to stay away from him as he can be quite charming and yet I know I need to stay away from him.

  100. John, you have NO concept of what the poster is talking about. Sometimes all that is left is to say goodbye. My daughter is mentally ill and on Friday attacked me unprovoked and tried to kill me. She’s an adult of 24 years old. I’m afraid if we don’t say goodbye, I will end up dead. That doesn’t make me heartless. My heart has been broken for well over 15 years due to this child of mine. Sometimes enough is enough.

  101. The poster of this article is a coward who can’t handle life.

    I pity the mentally ill the vast majority of people are too selfish and conservative to really offer help, all they point toward is treatment and medications like it was the holy grail of a solution.

    You’re what makes mankind wither, you don’t offer anything new or helpful to real pain and despair in this world, your own family, you forgot the meaning of sacrifice. It’s so much easier to run away isn’t it? Out of sight out of mind!

    Yuck.

    • John, sometimes no matter how hard you try to help someone that suffers from mental illness, they refuse to seek help. My mother has done so many nasty unforgivable things to me, does not believe she has a problem. I am 47 years old and most of my life was spent walking on egg shells around my mother. I realized it was time for me to cut her out of my life, the last straw for me was her telling everyone I was a needle junckie…even my kids, whom did not believe her. I own my own business and raising my 14 yr old daughter, my son 20, lives on his own and attends college. both of my kids beg me to cut all ties with my mother. and when my niece call me and told me of her accusing me of doing drugs I was done with her drama. It has been a month since I last spoke to her, I feel so much better. I no longer dread answering the phone, or the holidays now, feel guilty about going on vacation…..she would lay the guilt on thick about me going away to have fun while she is stuck at home alone and unhappy….which was all my fault, all my life her sadness was blamed on me even as a small child. some times you just got to cut of the dead wood and move on

  102. I was diagnosed with bipolar when I was 17 (I’m 19 now) and have contemplated whether or not I should ever get married due to my illness. I want to get married, but I don’t want to be happy at the expense of someone else’s happiness. How can I marry someone I love knowing that they would be better off with someone else? I know that I don’t want to marry someone else who is bipolar because in all honesty I wouldn’t want to date myself. I’m a smart, physically attractive guy who has a good sense of humor (most of the time) but I don’t have any friends, and I’m too insecure about myself to get a girlfriend and therefore have no experience with dating. I seem to push everyone away and isolate myself during my depressive episodes and I embarrass myself in my manic episodes. I just feel like anyone who gets close to me doesn’t know what to make of me, it scares them. I keep a lot of secrets because I’m afraid of being judged or word getting around work that I’m “crazy”. At the same time secrets prevent me from letting other people in and helping them understand. Most people don’t seem to want to understand, they just want me out of their life. I do lots of treatment and respond decently (I don’t always do what my therapist wants) and I take my meds like a nazi. Yet, despite that, my life is still a f”’ing mess. I see my old friends on facebook. I wish I could be like them.

    • Oh my! you sound exactly like my daughter, she is a single mother of 3, twin girls that just turned 3 and a 6 year old son. She is extremely smart, graduated with a BS and was accepted into a Master’s program but she can’t seem to find love and she, like you, doesn’t have any friends, when she is depressed stays at home by herself, when she is manic she acts crazy wild and goes out and drinks and gets in trouble. When she stays on her meds she is the best but I never know how long that will be. She just turned 28 and I have been dealing with her ups and downs for a long time. It’s so sad to see someone that wants someone to love them and to get that love in return but she has ZERO self-esteem. Today she is pulling herself out of being depressed and going to a personal trainer to feel good about herself and start eating right. IT’s always about her, her, her,. I just wish she would pay more attention to the children. She loves them but she doesn’t have that one on one that most mom’s do. She would really go crazy w/o them that is why I’m always there to do everything I to help her when she needs it. I think you should totally go out and find friends and date and you will find that perfect person for you. Don’t ever give up having a relationship because you are bipolar, STAY on your meds and accept you first then everyone else will accept you. GOOD LUCK.

    • Jordan, I am severely bipolar and disabled from it, and have been married for 16 years and have two great kids. We all deserve happiness, even those of us with mental illnesses. I have my down periods where I feel my husband deserves better. But that is “all or nothing” thinking…that we are the worst people in the world because we are bipolar…which is wrong. My husband could have done a lot worse! The key is to accept that you have an illness with a stigma, yet recognize that you have many good qualities too. Some people will run away from you at the first mention of bipolar disorder. Some will stay and be good friends. Continue taking your meds like a Nazi…NO MATTER WHAT…and do what your therapist says. Therapy is hard work, much of it is doing things we don’t want to do, and the only way to be stable is to work hard at it. It hurts when people want nothing to do with me…that pain is part of life for anyone. But I have a few who accept me as I am. If you can find a support group, you’ll find everyone with bipolar disorder deals with the same issues (pushing people away when depressed; embarrassing ourselves when manic; losing friends, difficulty making friends, etc..) We are what my husband calls “intense personalities”. But if you do open yourself up a bit, you’ll find that people may be drawn to you because of your “intense personality” and the passion and the creativity that goes with it. I was closed up and painfully aware of my shortcomings until I was 30…I wasted a lot of time worrying about being judged for the illness, and thinking I had nothing to offer. My two children show me every day just how much I did have to offer. Do they have a quite different upbringing than normal? Yes…but our family is no more dysfunctional than any other family! My kids just have a really moody mom who sometimes needs a lot of help from others in order to function well. I just wanted you to know that it IS possible for a person with bipolar disorder to marry, stay married, and be reasonably happy. Don’t tell yourself you shouldn’t, can’t, or won’t do something just because you have bipolar disorder!

  103. Listen to this I don’t really advocate giving up your mentally ill children for their not taking care of themselves because from a personal experience parents be kicking their children if they relay on them anyways or try to at least although the end of the suffering is on their reliance on themselves so for the OCD child whom mom wants to give up I had OCD and it is cure not not 100% remission why? Simple because I don’t have OCD anymore plus it’s been like a year since I had OCD and this was accomplished because I took care of myself by facing my fear I used to go ahead in the class cutting the teacher as I demanded when the officer of the school along with the local security to talk to my classmates that I have sexual OCD and I don’t want anyone to verbal abuse me a typical smart move I call but I’m also bipolar and it’s never been a problem to me when it comes to risky behaviors because I take care of myself eg I talk about that drugs are bad but in a more than sufficient way because it’s my situation but parents tend to relax more if you don’t care about your illness than if you are careful and share with them the more than sufficient treatment

  104. I’m dealing with something very similar, for 10 years now. A family member, sick with OCD but instead of going to his appointments and taking his meds he relies on his family for support and gets mad at us if we get frustrated. Sometimes I don’t want to listen, he’ll talk about his obsession for hours on the phone when I’m stressed out with school, but he doesn’t care. And if I let him go, he gets mad and threatens to kill himself. He did that tonight, so I called my dad and now my dad is over there listening to his problems. He should be talking to a therapist for help, not us. Some of the things he talks about are very hard to listen to, disturbing and he doesn’t care, he makes you listen. My poor dad is so tired. He’s getting old, and he gets sick from this. He’s gonna kill my dad from stress. I think theres a line that has to be drawn yes. If he won’t get help for himself than isn’t he just being selfish always relying on us even though he knows it’s making us sick? We tried committing him to a hospital once when he was threatening to commit suicide but they let him out cuz they said they didn’t think he will really do it. I don’t want to abandon him but i’m so tired and frustrated. He’s driving me crazy and he’s making my dad sick. I can’t study, work, etc. So I want to ask – since a lot of people with mental illness on here are saying how selfish this article is – I want to ask you what am I supposed to do? Should I continue like this? Don’t you think it’s selfish that he won’t get the help he needs and uses his family like they are therapists? Don’t you think it’s selfish he doesn’t care about our problems? Is selfishness part of the illness? Should I have stayed with my abusive ex boyfriend because he was mentally ill and couldn’t control his temper? WHAT SHOULD I DO? I want to know what you (the people on here that are mentally ill) think that I should do? My dad is getting weaker, and I’m also losing my sanity here but according to you I should keep going like this? If you love your family you should be trying your very best to get the help you need.

    • I can thoroughly relate. My stepbrother is schizophrenic and in complete denial about his illness. When he is not delusional, he is ok. At least then he is not rambling insanity at people. However, all too often, he becomes delusional and rambles. Usually he rambles at the top of his voice after 1:00 a.m. But when he rambles at one person and only one person, I am usually the person he picks on. For a while, I didn’t deal very well with this. I actually responded to his delusional rant in frustration. However, that got me nowhere because I was reacting to his illness more than to him, and “you can’t reason with insanity.” So I finally decided to just only go out of my bedroom armed with my smart phone and a set of headphones so that I could completely tune him out. He worries me sometimes, though, because he isn’t just mentally ill. He’s very, very angry; and there’s no telling when he might become so angry as to physically lash out at someone. Another problem I have with him is that he looks far too much like his father (something I know is not his fault), and his father has been abusive of me in every way possible (including sexually abusive for a period of about 6 years). When I reported my stepfather for the abuse, he and my mom both kicked me out on the street. Having been abused in many different ways (including sexually) as a child, I developed complex PTSD; and I am afraid to be anywhere near men when I am by myself. My stepbrother obviously has no clue about normal social boundaries; and there have been times when, entirely in self-defense, I’ve had to throw something at him when I felt threatened by him. Since he wouldn’t listen to my verbal requests for him to back off. Once he threatened to have me arrested even though I obviously didn’t hurt him. Anyway, when I respond/react to him in any way other than complete politeness, my family verbally attacks me instead of supporting me. We all know he needs meds; and I’m the only one who is willing to tell him so. I could go on and on and on, but I won’t. I’m not claiming to be perfect. I have my own issues to deal with; but at least I’m doing everything I can to keep myself well. But my stepbrother being unwilling to clean up after himself; my mother also being unwilling to clean up after herself; and the stress of my stepfather always triggering my PTSD because of what he did (and my stepbrother triggering it because of his uncannny resemblance to his father) are just too much for me. It seems my only course of action is to move out ASAP and not allow my family to know where I’m going. Maybe then I’ll be able to get more than 3-5 hours of undisturbed sleep a night (my stepfather has the gall to call me before 9 a.m., so I finally blocked him on my smartphone); and I will only have to take care of myself. Hopefully, I will hear back from my city’s housing voucher program office soon and be able to move soon.

      Anyway, I so totally agree with you. People with mental illness often can’t see that they are ill. So it helps to do an intervention for them (with the support of the healthy members of your family). You probably need to set some more boundaries and don’t feel badly about doing so. It is not OK for someone with mental illness to push you past your limits. If you have caller ID on your phone and can ID your sick family member when he calls, perhaps don’t answer the calls. If you can block his number, it might be a good idea to do that. Mental illness is no excuse for his inappropriate behavior. You need to protect yourself and do what you can to maintain your own good health and sanity. Your family member clearly needs to contact a mental health professional and not burden his family the way he has been. I realize I am not in the category of mentally ill, but from one sane person to another, I think you made an excellent choice to leave your abusive ex-boyfriend. Kudos to you for not wanting to abandon your ill family member; but you need to do whatever you need to do to keep yourself sane, safe, and healthy.

      Another thing, I appreciate this article very, very much and look forward to reading others like it. Bless you, Natasha and the dear lady who wrote the comment above. I wish you all the best.

      And I echo the above comment: Those of you who are mentally ill, please seek professional psychological and psychiatric help soon. To refuse to do so is to hurt yourself and the many, many people around you. If you don’t get the help you need, don’t be surprised if you find yourself alone or abandoned.

  105. Ok, to be fair I can expect this comment to be taken down by moderators cuz what im about to say is the real truth….The Psychiatruth(I know i just made up a new word). And that truth is that mental diseases are not scientifically Proven. I mean cmon now…U can show me a cut off leg. Xrays that disclose broken bones, heart problems and a slew of other things on top of that. But in brain scan who can only show me brain on chemical substances. You Cant show me Schizophrenia, but you can tell me an opinion….You cant prove “ADHD”, you can only tell “I dont agree with his/her lack of attention.” You can’t prove to me “Bipolar” you can only tell “I dont agree with that person’s off the wall emotions”.
    So in the end, from psychiatrist to every day average person. You can only tell me or ne1 else your opinions. But in the end. I’ve just stated the psychiatric facts.
    People have asked if i’m telling the truth, why are there insane asylums? Well it’s pretty simple, The government doesn’t require scientific analysis for loans, grants, or payments.
    And yet another ??? I still see, Why do people commit suicide? Well cuz if you dont reinforce/ control ur mental, psychical and emotional strength…u will find that you can get the better of you. Just like people with psychiatry, cuz they tell people popular opinions, the only reason facilities r built at all. But in the end, they r really just quacks who will never be able to face the truth.
    So get right ahead mods, delete me for telling the truth. I will understand.

    • [Moderated] That’s Your truth not The truth. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that you’re not a psychiatrist who has come to this conclusion. Healing the mind is much more complicated and much less understood than healing the body. However, someone who has destructive emotional cycles of mania and depression can be diagnosed with bipolar. I will make a poor attempt at an allegory: If a man is running with a broken leg, you don’t need to lift up his pants to see that there is something wrong with his leg. Like the man with a broken leg, people with bipolar struggle to get through life because of their emotionally extremes. The fictional man can be helped even if you can’t fix the bone, he can be given anesthetic and a brace. Psychiatrists give people with bipolar disorder a brace. I also believe you are misinterpreting truth and fact to be the same thing, they’re not.

  106. It is imperative to treat Mental Health Disorder like any other disease. It is only separated due to cost on an Insurance standpoint. When any disease strikes a family, is is difficult and can be devastating, but can be overcome. However, there is help for all involved in any crisis relating to any Health Issue. It takes a healthy intelligent family to come together to engage in healthy steps to stabilize their loved one. It takes environmental conditions, therapists, psychiatrists, and medications for anyone to have a chance at a normal life. Yes, like any disease, your loved one will be changed and adaption for you as well as for themselves is the key. I promise you, it will not happen overnight, they will have relapses, but from my experience those that have had the best recovery, are those that had a higher educated family and with unconditional love. Also, I found that many times individuals that had mental illnesses themselves had a family members also with undiagnosed Mental Illness. Thus, more of a breakdown occurs.

    Most importantly, it is imperative that we do not live in a throw away society with our loved ones that get Mentally ill. Just like Cancer, Diabetes, TBI’s, or any other Health Issue it is sustainable, it just does not carry the negative label. If you came down with any illness and you got sad, depressed, get irritable, became disabled due to treatments of certain diseases, how would you like to be treated? You would like those around you to educate themselves, be compassionate and etc. If the person is not keeping up with their treatments and not abusing drugs, why the big deal? I really don’t understand this culture in the United States. If an individual is sensitive, work with them and realize it is not personal. Yes, set boundaries for treatment, but to say goodbye to a parent that gave you life is absurd. Remember, you plan on life being well, but I have much more knowledge and experience, your own life could change in one minute. Would you like to be rejected after? Saying goodbye to a family member or significant other for a neurological impairment or physical condition, does not make you anymore less abusive. It is actually just as cruel as the complaints I have read on this sight.

    Signed,

    A Professional and my family has severe Bi-Polar that runs through it’s genetics.

  107. I lost the love of my life due to mental illness and drug abuse still wish I could fix her wish the pain would go away we have two beautiful kids together that I have custody of we were supposed to do it together raise them my son is nine and doesn’t understand my daughter is three and doesn’t know.she is a master at making you feel sorry for her and telling you I have changed it would be different this time it’s never different just more painful every time.i pray for those with mental illness and for those life’s that are affected by them it’s a rough world sometimes thank god for jesus

  108. I have a sister who tortured our entire family for 39 years before we finally told her we’re done. But not before she could ruin my Dad’s final days. I really can’t stand the people on here blaming the families who are being abused by the mentally ill for leaving. Guess what? While she didn’t choose to be mentally ill, WE didn’t choose to be subjected to her abuse. SHE chooses to not take her meds and get the helps she needs. My family and I deserve to be happy and not live our entire lives being abused. No one would ever tell a battered spouse or child that they are wrong for leaving their abuser. Why is it any different for the families of the mentally ill who refuse to get help? If they don’t want to be abandoned by their families, why don’t THEY get the help they need? I cannot believe you people who think we should just sacrifice our entire lives and allow ourselves to be abused until the day we die!!! You people who blame the families for leaving an abusive relationship are EVIL (and most likely the ones who are abusing others). NO ONE deserves to live their lives in constant fear and pain.

  109. I’m sorry but family is family picture yourself in their shoes seems like you just quit on them and if its a relationship you quit on your partner come on yo are a bunch of whiny ass is I’m sorry you don’t quit on someone like that I’ve got someone with the same problem in my life of lost jobs I’ve lost vehicles of lost homes but I’ve always stuck there with them through thick and thin don’t tell me what you’ve been through cause I guarantee I’ve been through worse you gotta man up you gotta hold your own way if you want it to happen you can make it happen don’t be a quitterI get so sick of seeing websites with these comments like this its like you people just want a way out a way from home get off the internet and let real people talk people that care

    • Ray…. you are not responsible for a sibling. Just because you share the same parents doesn’t make you responsible for each other. Perhaps if it was my kid, or my parent, I’d feel different. But I actually don’t get anything from the relationship with my brother, not even love…so you can be a martyr to the cause if you want to…but most relatively sane people, can’t live that way. And my problems are not even as bad as yours, reading what you have gone through. I admire your resilience but I don’t share your enthusiasm for staying in the madness. They either get help (or at least admit they need it), or they can swing…that is how I see it and no amount of anyone else preaching at me is going to change that.

  110. I weep for you for not rising above it, not learning about it, and trying to help your brother rather than shielding yourself from reality.

    • And I in turn weep for you as you seem unable to appreciate what Natascha has done here. We are as valuable and worthy of serenity as we allow ourselves.

    • Beth – It sounds to me like Natasha did everything she could. Even if you’re in a similar situation, you certainly have no right to judge. I have a mentally ill brother who refused to take care of himself. He knew he needed to take his meds but refused to do so. Then he expected me to clean up the mess that resulted from his not taking personal responsibility (as our mom did until she died). There came a point when, after seeing my mom do everything she could & realizing things didn’t change for her & weren’t going to change for me if I took over, I HAD to let him go or else it would have destroyed me. Selfish? Yes & no. I had a 6 year old daughter who needed her mother. Insanity is doing the same thing over & over, expecting a different result. There just comes a time to realize that & let them go. I have no regrets.

  111. I am someone who has been crying out for help from my family since I was 14 (now at 40 I am just getting through the last layer, turns out my undiagnosed celiac stiffly influenced my mental health issues) and the doctor wanted to put me on antidepressants. My parents solution was to punish me until I learnt – tough love they said. It is so much harder to get help and become better in the world when you don’t have the proper support (and I do not mean enabling). The support I needed was someone to love me even though I struggled. Although, I agree people need to want to get help. I wish my family was loving in that way. There is a strong possibility that getting better will mean removing myself from my most toxic relationship, my family. What I know now that I didn’t know then was my family had the greatest effect on the cause of my mental illness and I spent years believing I was at fault and have severe abondonment issues as a result that greatly disrupted my ability to choose healthy relationships. I have to accept and take responsibility for my actions in life but not for the actions of my family. That is theirs to own. Mental illness is complicated and it is not easy challenge to address. People are hard on others in there weakest moments. I wish your family all the best and hope that you don’t give up on your family, even if it is just I moment in time to let some

  112. I can’t help but cry at reading about your brother as I feel the same way. We don’t know what thread of metal illness my brother has, all I know is he has become obsessed with religion and god. So much so that this morning we discovered that he has ran away to walk the earth and be at one with god. He won’t answer his phone and hasn’t any money or clothes with him. He is very vulnerable and will be swayed easily if you talk to him about Christian/Rastafarian beliefs. He smoked weed for a long time and in turn is now a devout white Rastafarian. He says he can’t live in our home because my father and I don’t believe in god however my mother is ok as she sort of believes. My brother makes very rash decisions and doesn’t listen to others or believes e is wrong about being with god. He says he is going to Ethiopia to the fatherland and tells us we will perish if we don’t believe and go with him. He has no experience of this life as he has been brought up in a good family background with relaxed but good moral conduct. He doesn’t see sense that walking the earth to be with god could end up killing him. He told us that god will provide for him, god will make his body warm as he plans to sleep rough. I don’t know what to do as police can’t get involved as he isn’t seen as a missing person yet. If someone could get in contact with me and tell me what to do or cope it would be great.

  113. Hi everyone, I too am dealing with a loved one that is mentally ill. I am 33 years old now and recently found out that everything my mother ever told me about family has been a lie. My mom is not well, never diagnosed but I suspect a personality disorder or biopolar or both. she was a victim of severe abuse as a child (from her adopted family) and has never gotten help. As a child I remember her being severely depressed and as a result my siblings and I were severely neglected, filthy, hardly any basic needs, and our home was like that of a hoarder, both animal and just junk. It’s really scarred me badly growing up that way, I always had issues in school and with my family. She told me so many lies about other family that was trying to help us,so I would stay away from them and think they were bad. I was even turned on my dad, who through all this just wanted her to get help and tried to be mister mom while she sank lower and lower. My parents divorced when I was 15 and money was always a problem, i think she may gamble alot. As an adult I never felt angry at her for my best, I just felt badly and wanted to make her life happy. I foolishly thought I could, so I had her move into my and my husband’s house. she lived there for 4 years and we just couldn’t take it anymore, all the behaviors of childhood were rising in her and I couldn’t stop it, no matter how hard I tried to plead with her, she won’t get help or thinks she has a problem. She has always put my and my sibling against eachother, saying nasty things behind all our backs to the others, and me and my sister have no relationship because of this. Mom went to live with her after me, and no surprise, it lasted 8 months and then mom left without a word. She now lives rent free in a friends apartment but she does still have links to me and I see her now and then. I don’t want too, I want to help her but I don’t want to keep getting crapped on by her. The thing is is that she is super super good hearted in most ways, but then I hear the things she says about me and my sister and just everyone in general and its’ terrible! why would you say those things? I’m educated, I married my high school sweetheart, we have a home, I have a good job and so does my husband, but I can’t enjoy my life. Every ounce of it is sucked away by guilt, feeling sorry that I have a good life and she doesn’t. money is always a problem, and I worry she’s not eating or getting what she needs. But I feel like I can’t deal with this anymore. She even leaves me terrible letters saying it’s my fault it didn’t work out, i was mean and should have been on meds. Now I do have OCD and anxiety, but alot of PTS symptoms and I cope with them with counseling, medication (very little) and yoga, reiki, meditation ect. she won’t ever take responsibility for her part in our families terrible history and it’s not history because she still, at 69, doing the same things. How can I walk away? I want her to be happy and healthy, but she will not help herself, I’ve tried for years and she just slams the door in my face every time. she says trrible things and then smiles to my face and says how much she loves me. I just don’t know what to do anymore…… any suggestions? I am very loving and want her to be happy but it’s starting to affect my marriage because I’m upset all the time and my husband is worried for me and gets angry with her. I just dont know what to do.

    • I am sorry for the situation you are in, Mel :( If you are a first-born, a first-born daughter, or just the one who feels responsible in your family, you are in for a horrific ride with a dysfunctional adult dictating the direction of your family. It isn’t a child’s (your) job to fix a parent. It isn’t their (your) JOB to dig in and find out what makes their parent tick……It never was your job to fix your mother or make life all better for her. She, and ONLY she can help herself. You can’t breathe her air for her. And you CAN’T invest more into her than she is willing or able to invest into herself! It sounds like you are way younger than I am and thus have a lot of living to do. You have a choice: you can let a mentally-ill person dictate, effect, and drive down EVERY second of your life and your husband & children’s lives; you can live with the drama, emotional dysfunction, and crap that you were dealt as a child, OR you can somehow let your mother know that YOU DO NOT FEEL RESPONSIBLE FOR HER HAPPINESS – BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HER HAPPINESS. YOU KIDS DESERVE MORE; YOU DESERVE MORE. It is EXHAUSTING to deal with emotional drama, manipulation, lies, and garbage. All of your strength should go into making wonderful memories for your children….they only get ONE childhood, and it is up to you and your husband to make it magical for them. I’m sorry they won’t have a caring, healthy grandma in their lives :( She is missing out, too!!!!!!! Whatever it takes for her to get healthy needs to be done BY HER ASAP, or you, for the sake of your own children need to take prompt action to disengage from her. This feels difficult and sad, but, as I said before: YOUR CHILDREN ONLY GET ONE CHILDHOOD—MAKE IT A FABULOUS ONE!!!! XOXOXO All my best Rona

      • Thank you for the reply Rona, it’s a really hard situation. Luckily, I don’t have children of my own that have to deal with this. Actually I think this situation is why I don’t have children, I’ve never known what a regular mom is like, and I’m afraid to make mistakes or that I’m too mixed up myself to be a good mom :-( I know it’s not true, in my heart but I do get very afraid of it. So for now I just need to focus on myself and my husband our furry kids and my career. My job also suffered as a result of all this stuff going on and I have to get back on track for myself. I know i can’t fix her, I tried and it was wrong of me, she has to do this work herself, I guess I just felt guilty for walking away finally. But thank you again, I really appreciate the supportive words! xoxo

  114. I could only read the first few comments because everyone here is so biased that medication actually works. Also, there is not a choice for a seriously mentally ill person to take meds and get this so called treatment because of forced meds and court orders. All you have to do is probate someone through the court to the hospital and they will be stripped of all their rights and forced by a court which is basically a panel of doctors and a judge.

    • Medication seems to be working for me. There are plenty of people here who share your view though, most of these people are very closed minded, more so than the medication advocates. Anyways won’t go into it because it’s been discussed at length on more relevant posts.

      • Hey Sarah just wondering what meds did they put you on for it as i am asking cause my wife is bipolar and on new meds again and has been for 3 months now and she says it not working but she always wants to run away from her problems and go home but always comes back and i was wondering what i can do to help her any idea?

        • lithium, and later added an SSRI. There are other effective medications also. What works best for one person does not work for another. Lithium has many drawbacks, like other meds – you have to keep a constant eye on your blood serum lithium levels – too high it’s toxic, and too low it doesn’t work. I have to drink a lot of water to flush it through the system. Lithium is not recommended for pregnancy and breastfeeding as far as I know. Anyway got to go now but there’s heaps more info on this site and others that can help your wife and good luck to both of you.

  115. Yes you have to say goodbye eventually as hard and cruel as it may seem. It’s the classic love the person hate the behaviour. The blonde haired boy reminded me of the son I once new he is a stranger to me now at 26 years of age drug addicted for 10 years and diagnosed with mental illness . You have to say goodbye :(

    • When you love someone you don’t abandon them because they are mentally ill. I have 2 sons with schizophrenia, and it is frustrating and it sucks but they can’t help it. I always ask myself what if it were me would I want to be aboandoned when I cant help the way I am. How can a mother ever, ever give up on their children. Nobody said life would be easy and it is hard as hell and I cry alot because of the hand that my boys were dealt. But I am their Mother and I would never, could never say goodby untill the day when one of us dies. People need to realize that laws need to be changed t mandate treatment for the severely mentally ill and protect them from themseleves and society. But how can I expect that a change will be propagated when the family turn their back why would strangers care. Its sad.

  116. It’s been a few months since I last spoke to my sister. Basically since she had a delusion that my mother was abusing my 4 year old daughter so took it into her hands to save the day and take her- held her against her will until my husband arrived to forcibly remove her. The cops said no crime was committed, the county had her admitted but the magistrate let her go since she wasn’t a threat to herself or others (okay….). We decided to evict her, but my mom didn’t have the heart to throw her out after 30 days. Just when my mom decided that while she can’t live with her (and she doesn’t, she lives with us now), but she can’t live with her daughter being homeless, we discover a valuable painting is missing from the house- my mom begs her to get it back. She said she took it for cleaning and walked out. I call every frame store in town and finally find that she commissioned to have it “fixed”- 5 month process. She said there were things wrong with the painting, the image, etc. It’s a painting of Jesus. The guys said there was something definitely wrong with her and returned it to us. She is also taking down light fixtures and calling neighbors to help because she has open wire she doesn’t know how to handle. She continues other behavior. I still have not contacted her. So she calls today asking if she can stop by to see the kids since their birthday is tomorrow. I left her a message to tell her that we would prefer she not, they are confused, they don’t understand. We care about you and worry about you and want you to get help. Part of me feels like this is wrong, withholding the kids, but the other part of me says that as a parent I am responsible for their well being and happiness. Was I right to do this?

    • I think you are doing the right thing – sounds like she is in the grip of mania and not herself. No need to upset the kids especially since they are so young. I guess you realise that it is not your sister who is driving her own behaviour but the illness. Please don’t hold it against her in the future. She really needs as much love and support as you can give at the moment even though it is very very difficult for you, since she is unconciously driving you away. Your sister needs to be admitted to hospital and needs medication.

      My opinion is based on my own experience as someone with bipolar disorder – I’m not a doctor.

      • Sarah-

        Thank you for your words of encouragement. I do realize she is in the grips of mania. It’s an impossible situation for all of us. My mother goes back and forth between being angry at her and realizing she is sick. I just feel so helpless. She is yelling at neighbors to not talk to her when they say hi and leaves things at my doorstep- gifts for the kids, package of drinks, etc. I want to return it all to her- to tell her it’s not okay, she needs help. She is getting worse. Do we not do anything and hope that somehow she gets into the system by doing something to someone else? I am so angry and depressed, my judgment is clouded and it takes all I have to breathe everyday. I am screaming for help but there isn’t anyone there. The laws are on her side. How can you expect someone who’s brain is sick to make a rationale decision to get help?

  117. What a powerful article. And thank you so much for sharing it with us. I am in a very rough spot myself, and was wondering if anyone had any advice to give. I have a daughter who just recently turned 24. Unfortunately, she’s been suffering with mental illness since her teenage years; and while EVERYONE in our family has a measure of sympathy for her condition, its hard for us to have the kind of compassion we had for her when she was a teenager. Particularly because she’s caused so much damage in our family over the last several years. Last summer (and much to our horror), my daughter got pregnant and decided to keep her baby. To make matters worse; my grandson’s father is (of course) conveniently absent from the picture, and my daughter is now a single mom. My daughter is way too immature to take care of my grandson on her own. She was staying with a friend of hers shortly after his birth, but the friend kicked her out; and now she is living with my boyfriend of eight years and I. I love my grandson more than I’ve ever loved anyone. I love my daughter, too: but for well over a decade now, she has done nothing but lie, manipulate, use, abuse, and wreak havoc in our family. The thing is; my daughter is an exceptionally smart girl. And she knows that she is mentally ill. During moments of clarity in fact, she’ll even tell you so herself. Hell, I’ve even gotten a few very genuine apologies from her over the years. Even so, she outright refuses to take medication of any kind. She won’t even go and speak to a counselor. Instead, she self medicated with alcohol; which makes the problem even worse. I have told her repeatedly that she is not allowed to bring alcohol into our house, but she sneaks it in anyway. And if not for the fact that my daughter is now the mother of this wonderful, amazing,beautiful little baby boy, this would have been the year that I’d have finally let her go and said goodbye. But as a Grandma, I just cannot bring myself to consign my poor little grandson to the life of hell I KNOW he would be subjected to; if not for the support of his ‘Poppa’ and ‘Gram-Gram’. Even so, things are very tense here at home. My boyfriend and I never fought before now. Now we are arguing all the time..My financial resources are dwindling because my daughter cannot get along well enough with others to work a full-time job, and I am sick from all of the stress I feel. I have to carefully monitor everything I do or say in my OWN HOME, because the second I say anything that has the slightest chance of being perceived as a personal attack by my daughter, all hell would break loose. To top that off, my daughter is wonderfully adept at convincing everyone but her own family that she’s ‘OK’. My boyfriend and I (with the support of my parents, siblings, cousins, etc.) even went as far as to get social services involved; and they closed my daughter’s case almost immediately.. She had them convinced that my boyfriend and I were the ‘crazy ones’ in just outside of a week! Has anyone else every dealt with a sick, manipulative, and VERY intelligent (my daughter has a genius IQ) adult child like who also happens to have a child, or children of her own? Is there a way to protect my grandson, without having to deal with my daughter and her antics? We are at our wits end.

    • I’ve been sad lately, not because I’m bipolar but because I’ve been friends with one who is and I’ve finally decided to end our friendship. I totally supported, helped, loved and tried to understand this friend since day one of our friendship because he doesn’t have a lot of friends and is not close with his family.

      He is often misunderstood and was labeled as a “bad boy” by some who knows him. I see a different side of him maybe that is why I kept the friendship after all these years. I was hoping that he’ll change and mature as he grows older but it never did. He became very manipulative and controlling and lies all the time. He gives broken promises and thinks that it!s my fault when I try to tell him how hurtful it is when he does it to me. He accused me of being condescending towards him when I say something about some poor choices he made in his life. He twists stories and tells his “new friends” that he was neglected by his family when he was young which is not true. He is very selfish and doesn’t care about others’ feelings.

      It saddens me to let go of this friend but I have to do what is best for me. My kindness has been used and abused by this person and enough is enough. In many ways, it hurts to part ways with someone who became part of your life but we have to move on and deal with our own for goodness sake.

      I cannot help a person who doesn’t want to help himself.

      This articles helped me decide to leave the friendship and bring respect back in my life.

      • You are describing someone who is manipulative and controlling. Good idea to end the friendship. People like that don’t change and if it hurts you then you need to protect yourself.

        This manipulative and controlling behaviour is not a classic symptom of bipolar disorder though. Sounds like you are ending the friendship because of the type of person he is rather than because of symptoms of his illness.

    • Hi Grace,

      I’m sorry you’re in that situation. It sounds very difficult. I’d say you are in a no-win situation for sure. My advice is either:

      1. Get a lawyer to help you get custody of your grandchild
      2. Document every single thing you can, get others to help, and build a solid case against your daughter to take to social services again.

      Obviously, neither of these options are very appealing, but if you feel like you have to do something (and if I were you, I would) then you have to pick one because it doesn’t sound like it’s possible that you can handle this situation on your own.

      I’m sorry, but that’s the best I can think of. I wish you luck and I hope, for your grandchild’s sake, your daughter chooses to seek recovery.

      – Natasha Tracy

    • Grace, I could have written your post—just changing the gender and the name. Our son Sam has a 7 year old daughter. He was 20 when she was born and her mother (who is at least 4 years older than Sam) already had a child from someone else. Marriage between the two would never have worked…she now has a third daughter from another male. Our son lives 4 hours away from us and this is the only thing that saves me from going mental. The distance allows me to keep the rest of the family together. He will NOT take his meds. He can NOT get along with people because he will not stay on his meds. Everything is wrought with drama, out of control emotions, threats, and general dysfunction. Sam’s child’s mother has custody, and I have tried to have a respectful, loving, supportive relationship with her. When I take our granddaughter for visits with us, I always take her 2 sisters as well. I have been criticized for this, (“They’re not your REAL grandchildren!”) but I feel that children can’t understand when they are left out, and since our family is more involved than her 2 sister’s families, our granddaughter would get more attention, gifts, time, etc., so I choose to do it that way.
      There is no way we can “go away for the holidays”, even though I WISH WE COULD!!! :) AND, I don’t quite have my husband convinced that Sam can’t stay here when he does come up for the holidays. The last THREE holidays were total hellish nightmares because of his drama and suicide threats even on Christmas Eve!!! He can’t save money for the daughter he professes to love, and he never has anything to give her for Christmas. We cover for him, but it is humiliating and I am tired of it.
      Grace, I don’t know who has it worse: you with a female suffering from bipolar disorder, or us with a male suffering the same way. Have you ever seen the Lifetime movie ‘Bringing Ashley Home’? I watched it with my jaw hanging open—just change the name & gender, as I said, and there was our son. If you get a chance to see it, you will understand a little bit more of what we are dealing with and you won’t feel so alone….it won’t help much, however.
      I appreciate this site where I can air my feelings. I saw a post here where the mother found a good book and underlined passages and left it on her son’s bed. I already put it in my Amazon basket. I’m going to send it to him all underlined!!!! Thanks, Rona

    • Your daughter sounds exactly my mine. She is 28, a single mom of 3! Twin girls that are 3 years old and a precious 6 yr old son. He is the love of my life. She lives with my husband and I during her pregnancy with the son and has lived in and out of our house since he was born. He knows that we are his stability, he and his twin sisters have their rooms at our house. She is currently in a loft, working a great job, making excellent money, a college graduate, etc.. BUT when something doesn’t go her way or she gets in her depressed moods if I say anything that makes her mad she won’t allow the kids to come over and see us. She keeps them in the loft with her and never goes anywhere or does anything with them. She doesn’t abuse them she is just depressed and doesn’t do anything with them. I pray to GOD everyday that she will stay on her meds. When she is off of them she will take Xanax and drink and drive w/o the kids that goodness. But if I won’t babysit she will find someone to watch the kids so she can go out and act horrible and end up lord knows where and all her money is gone and she doesn’t know what she did. They she will straightened up for awhile and get on track and it will happen all over again. She won’t live with us because she can’t stand my husband of 24 years. He raised her but he won’t put up with her behavior or feel sorry for her if she doesn’t take her meds. I’m always there bc I do unconditionally love her. But man, when does it end. Now my poor 21 year old who is a single mom of a 19mo old son is always there for her. She watches her kids for her because daycare is so expensive. So my younger one feels like she cant go get a job bc it would make my older daughter go into deep depression, etc. She has told her sister she doesn’t want to live anymore bc she tries so hard to find someone to love her and they are leave her. It’s bc she looks for all the wrong guys. she has a million tattoos, shaves the side of her head and dresses in black…HELLO who that is good is going to find that attractive. And my grandson goes to a private Christian school and I’m sure they think their mom is wacko…I just don’t know what to do anymore either. I can’t let her be because of the grandkids. But I just want her to know what she is doing to our family. We have been to hell and back. She has Overdosed on drugs several times, been addicted to meth before the kids were born, lived on the streets before the kids were born, I just wonder if she will ever be happy and find someone that will love her for her.

  118. I am pregnant and my boyfriend s mother lives with us 6 out of 7 days of the week, she is always walking by me and mumbling mean things under her breath . She approved of me til things got serious between me and mat, then she became more and more controlling makeing me feel like I was the third wheel completly unwanted there,and she made sure I knew it everyday, it mad me sad and stressed out and anxious all the time, , she has a husband and a home but she is at our place 24 /6 and we never have time to ourselves, is it normal for a bipolar mother to interfere in relationships trying to break them up to keep her son from leaving the nest, I. Am at complete loss I need advice please help me

    • Hi Jess,

      No, that is not normal and I would say that have nothing to do with bipolar and everything to do with the psychology of the specific person involved.

      It sounds like you need to sit down with Mat and have a conversation about what you need and want out of your relationship. If you can’t live with what is going on then he really needs to step in because it’s his mother. He needs to set boundaries that you _both_ can live with. This is an issue you need to take up with him, and then with a conversation with him and his mother and perhaps you too.

      If you’re having trouble working through it, I recommend couple’s counselling so that you can talk out the issues and reach a solution you all can live with.

      – Natasha Tracy

  119. I hope I never give up hope for my 22 year old son because I love him so much but I understand what you are saying about having to let go sometimes. I’ve come close. Fortunately, he has chosen to take his meds but it was difficult to convince him to see a doctor and get help. I read everything I could get my hands on. There was one book that was a quick read. I highlighted sections from the first 25 or so pages and left it on his bed with a note that said we loved him but he had to help himself. I asked him to look over the pages I had highlighted. It was the pivotal moment he decided to accept he needed help and that he wasn’t the only one facing this disease. He thought it was “just him” and that is why he acted the way he did. I’d highly recommend the book: http://www.amazon.com/Psychology-Today-Taming-Bipolar-Disorder/dp/1592572855#_

    I’ve had to learn how to change my expectations. The kid that finished high school a merit scholar and that had 15+ fullride scholarships just isn’t going to end up taking that path. I just hope he takes care of himself and that he can be happy.

    • This is a powerful topic. My heart goes out to everyone involved. I have had 3 very serious cases of this mental illness in my own family. I wouldn’t wish it on ANYONE! I know from many years of experience that you cannot help the ones who refuse professional help and medication. When they refuse to get the help they need, they are at their worst and, at that point, they will poison the entire household. Children and even marriages may be destroyed. You allow an entire family to go down for one – only to watch the one causing it destroy themselves in the end. Our stance should be, “I will not help you if you are not geting help for yourself by keeping your appointments for medication and taking it faithfully.” You have to love yourself and the rest of your family too. The sick person is not the only person needing your love and support. God bless you all!

      • YOUR POST HOLDS A LOT OF IMPACT!!! Now I just need to get my husband to read it. I can’t bear the thought of ANOTHER Christmas being ruined by ANYTHING!!!!!

    • Hi Anthony,

      I’m sorry to hear that. But I will say that if you’re here and reading this, you’re not really him. You’re someone who has insight into their illness enough to know that.

      I hope you can take that insight and turn it into something positive and make a better life for yourself. That you’re here and left a comment is a positive thing.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • This blog posting is offensive. Encouraging the abandonment of a mentally ill family member is sick. One day, when you are 98 years old and need help to survive another day things will drastically fall into perspective for you. It is a sorrowful to see how self absorbed this is. Looks like the abuser is actually the “sane” one. This posting really pisses me off.

        • I think its unfair to say that leaving a mentally ill person for one’s old good is offensive. Its not offensive in anyway! She isn’t saying that you just leave and not try, but I for example, have been with my fiance for five years. He is very very sick and needs help but refuses to do so. I have no choice but to take our son and get far away from him. I keep our home clean, I cook every night, I work and pay most of the bills on my own, I’m a great mom and partner but my fiance tells me that he hates me, that he refuses to live the rest of his life with someone like me. Like me? I’m young, really good looking, great personality, very loyal and loving but he thinks I’m horrible. Do you think that’s fair for me and my son to live with that kind of anger? I hope not. So next time you open your mouth to say something without thinking first, please don’t. She never said that one must leave right away without trying. And what does her being 98 yrs old someday have anything to do with it? You sound like the type that can have any opinion that you want but others can’t! God bless you and
          good luck!

        • Actually I have been living with Mental Health issues for awhile now and I can’t believe the selfishness of this blog/posting about Mental Illness, what we need to do as a Society is to try and reduce the stigmatising behaviour that society seems to shun upon individuals like me and many others.

  120. I know I am not easy to be around, but I take my medicine and do my best, but for me its not just psychotic depression, but also Borderline Personality Disorder, which medicine doesn’t do much for. This article makes me sad that my family will read this and want to leave me. I am not perfect but I do my best. I honest to god cannot survive without my boyfriend and my parents to help me. Hopefully they won’t see this. Some people with cancer are in denial and don’t want treatment, but would you encourage their loved ones to say goodbye? I hope they don’t leave me.

      • My husband & I have been married for 42 years. We have 6 beloved children, 4 of their spouses, and 7 wonderful grandchildren. Our last-born son is 27 years and suffers from bi-polar disorder. He was just diagnosed last year. This explains so much!!! Right now, he is loving 4 hours away in a resort town in Utah. He has been texting members of the family that he will be moving back ‘home” in a week. The last FOUR Christmases have been virtually RUINED by his drama, suicide threats, emotional behavior, crap, and general refusal to do anything to help himself AND our family by getting help and staying on his prescribed medications. To say I am dreading another repeat of last Christmas is a huge understatement. He comes home with NOTHING, no money (even though he can earn from $60.00 to $200.00 PER DAY waiting tables where he lives now), and tries to play the pity card with ALL of us. He has burned his bridges with his VERY LOVING AND SUPPORTIVE SIBLINGS, stolen from almost all of them, and crossed any boundaries that should be respected by anyone else. His behavior has nearly broken up an otherwise healthy, loving marriage. My husband has found it very difficult to stop enabling this child’s failure and destructive behavior. It has taken threats from me to move in with one of our other children as well as advise from our ecclesiastical leader to finally get my husband to stop giving him money. He would STILL give him money, which is spent on cigarettes, coffee. alcohol, & marijuana if he could get away with it.

        Yesterday our oldest son called me with concerns that his brother will be here in a week to attempt to leach off of us and spread his dysfunction around yet again, as the holidays approach. Any help or advise from anyone will be GREATLY appreciated. By the way, we changed the lacks a year ago—-he hasn’t been able to enter or house since then, except by manipulating my husband.

        • Hi Rona,

          Ah, the holidays, such a blessed time where family drama escalates to a “10” and everyone threatens to strangle each other. Or maybe that’s just me.

          Suffice it to say, I know what you’re going through.

          You really have two issues:

          1. How to deal with your son.
          2. How to deal with the holidays.

          When dealing with an out-of-control person (for any reason) I believe that firm boundaries are best. Yes, we will accept this behavior, no, we will not accept that behavior. And you need to have a “come tom Jesus” talk (no offense intended) where you lay down the law and tell him the new rules. He may not be used to them. You may not be used to them. But you need to create boundaries you can live with and you can live with _enforcing_. And your whole family needs to follow through with that. Sounds like time for a family meeting.

          (And I always recommend therapy for situation that are this sticky. Often they can help us sort out our feelings and come up with a plan. If you can get your son to join you – all the better.)

          As for the holidays – the answer is simple – go away for the holidays. Yes, it’s running away from the problem, but it allows you to carve out time and space, probably in another country, to have the holiday _you_ want. Holidays don’t have to be what they have always been. Try something new. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got (AA).

          In short, you’re in a tough spot, but it’s not impossible, it’s just hard. Defining boundaries is hard. Sticking to them is hard. Planning time away can be hard. But if you do this, you are really helping everyone involved – after all, your son also needs to learn to stand on his own feet and learn what is and what is not acceptable behavior. Then, if he chooses to get treatment, it’s his choice, but hopefully he will see it as a way of working with you and creating a healthier him and relationship with you.

          – Natasha Tracy

    • The article is about people that are being hurt by their loved one’s that are sick from mental illness. You have to understand that some people have no choice but to walk away from their loved one’s. Take me and my son for example, my fiance of 5 years has been abusing me because of his illness. It makes him mean and he say horrible things that no one should say ever! That is what the women is trying to say. Sometimes there is no other choice but to walk away!

  121. First of all, I’m sorry to hear about your brother. I’m also weeping with your story. Thanks for sharing.

    Natasha, this article reminded me how my friend almost left me because I kept on hurting him. He couldn’t stand what is happening between us.

    I’m one of those people who had been selfish, and continuing hurting my friend and I admit, even I got help for 8 months, I honestly not getting better not until last month. Although I am not the very violent – just a very nasty behavior.

    Our fights were the same for 8 months. I was a bitch. It came to the point that he almost had to left me and gave up our friendship, and also came to the point that I was already the one who was saying goodbye to our friendship. I was the Titanic that I kept on hurting, and stabbing my friend. My friend expressed his hurting feeling especially when I let him deleted all the things I’ve given (letters, digital artworks, etc.) – for him it was a clearly indication that a friendship with him is not worthy.

    But I think I was the lucky woman to have a friend who understands what I’ve been through. That it is not the real me that he had met last 2008-2009, who still wanted to resolve everything. He has ADHD and who had been in therapy since he was 24 so mental illness is not new to him also.

    But it was I, myself, who woke up myself. For once, I told myself to be rational this time.

    It’s a matter whether a person will accept that he has a mental condition. It’s acceptance. Even accepting to get help from professionals. Initially, like me, I didn’t believe that I have a Depression, but indeed it was I who embraced acceptance that I really need a professional help. My family couldn’t help me. They are not well-educated about mental illness.

    I also found out that I was living from the past – full of insecurities, jealousy and dishonesty. I wore the mask to be the other person (not the other me but literally – someone else-) – his ex-gf. I was trying hard to be like his ex-gf. I’m telling you that girl is pretty and very hot and bold – that was my insecurities and now, I believed that there -are- solutions for every insecurities I have. Today, I thought of them as trivial reason, because I didn’t embraced CHANGES, and ACCEPTANCE.

    I and my friend talked it over. He made the “stove” as an example for me. I know the stove is hot and I got burned one time. Do I have to touch it again that I knew it was hot?

    I and my friend are now in “starting all over again” situation. I always remembered that day that I got burned from that “stove”.

    • Hi Lily,

      I agree with you that acceptance is key. We can’t get better until we want to and we can’t repair our relationships until we want to either. There are two people in all relationships and either one can sabotage them – and only one wanting to fix it isn’t enough.

      Luckily for you, you didn’t reach the breaking point with your friend before you woke up. Everyone should be so fortunate.

      Thanks for sharing.

      – Natasha Tracy

  122. I’m sorry to see this has turned into a bit of a flame war… As someone who is absolutely devoted to a husband with complex PTSD, and has suffered long term depression herself, I have this to say:

    People with a mental illness (or with any serious illness) can still be arseholes. They can be selfish, manipulative, cruel, judgmental, greedy, violent, uncaring. Sometimes this can be the side product of a mental illness, and sometimes it is simply part of their character.

    It’s that reality, that difficulty of trying to determine what is the illness, and what is the person behind it, that creates such pain and guilt and uncertainty amongst their carers, friends and family.

    Sometimes a person needs to ‘let go’ of a loved one with a mental illness, for their own sanity. And it always, always hurts to do it. Don’t let this be confused with the notion, unfortunately still so common in today’s world, that people with a mental illness brought it on themselves. That is completely codswallop, and ignores the reality of living with mental illness.

    • Hi Imogen,

      Well, I wouldn’t call this a flame war. Trust me. I get those and moderate them out.

      I think your comment is great and it’s always amazing to hear about people that are so devoted to each other.

      Thanks for your comment.

      – Natasha Tracy

  123. My son was a well educated and good provider. He had his first seizure five years ago. About two years ago he became worse because the brain inflamation penetrated the brain more. His wife said he was rediculous and left after 22 years of marriage.His 22 and 17 year old daughters have not been to see him in almost two years. He pays the 17 year old $1000 a month ever since they left. She filed for divorce over a year ago but delays it hoping he will die. My husband and I are seeing about our son who goes to church faithfully where he has been a deacon his entire adult life. When sickness happens it does not justify your family abandoning you. My son is sick not by choice but because it is Gods plan for his life. I feel sorry his wife and daughters becuse they are missing the final days of someone that loved them so much.

    • Sally, I am so sorry for all the pain that your son and you and your family are going through. As someone who is in a relationship with someone who is mentally ill, you reach a certain point where your life ends and it’s only theirs. This is not healthy and some people really need to leave. I am not saying this is the case with your son and his family-maybe she did just abandon him, no one can say what went on behind closed doors. I am happy he has you in his life and I hope you find forgiveness in your heart.

  124. Natasha, thank you so very much for this site. I’m glad someone is willing to say things directly and not skirt around the issues of mental illness. I come from a very sick family myself. Both my grandmothees were unforgivably abusive and mentally ill and did not get the help they needed. And my grandfathers were both very, very passive. My grandmothers each poisoned their families with their untreated illnesses. Two years ago, one of my uncles died of alcoholism just before entering a residential treatment program. My mother married my abusive father to escape the abusive environment she was raised in, and my father abused her and my brother and me (including physically and sexually). After most of the damage had already been done by both my father and his mother, my mom finally left him. Five years after the divorce, she started dating a man who would turn out to be worse than my father. My brother and I could see him for what he was really like before their wedding, and we warned her. Rather than dumping him, she sent my brother to live with our dad, and she eventually put me out on the streets (after I reported my stepfather to the police for his very real attempted rape of me). It turns out, my stepfather is bipolar, my mother is OCHD, and my younger stepbrother who was dropped off at our home (in his late 30’s) is schizophrenic. My stepbrother is very often very abusive of me verbally. He has also destroyed other people’s property, refused to clean up after himself, refused to take care of his personal hygiene, and refused to accept responsibility for himself, his actions, and his choices. And my mom and stepdad won’t do anything about it. They won’t educate themselves about mental illness, they won’t confront him about his need for treatment, and they continue to enable him by allowing him to live here rent-free and responsibility-free. My family won’t even acknowledge being ill. They won’t accept professional psychological help, and they are putting my own sanity in danger. I have my own many physical health problems which make me uninsurable, and I have PTSD, DID, and related mental issues from all the abuse I’ve endured throughout my life. I’m in therapy for all of this, and I’m doing what I have to to get myself out of this insane, unsafe, unhealthy environment–so that I can effectively continue my healing. Thank you for your posts. How very refreshing to read them! God bless you. Please keep speaking the truth.

    • Hi Renee,

      Thank-you for sharing your story – I’m sure that’s very hard and painful but you should know that by sharing like that, you are helping other people who can identify with you.

      I do try my best to speak outright about mental health issues in the best way I know how. I’m honoured when they speak to people.

      Regarding DID, I’m going to recommend you read Holly Gray, if you don’t already, as she’s a good writer and she has DID as well. You can find her here: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/dissociativeliving/

      Thanks for your comment.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • Hi, Natasha. Thank you for sharing the link about DID. I apologize for not writing back sooner. It’s good to know that someone cares and that you aren’t writing me off as bad/crazy/manipulative. I’ve read quite a bit from the link you posted and have quite a bit more to read, and I’m learning more than I can adequately express with words. I highly recommend the site that you posted for me. In the way of a follow-up, my family is finally reading about scizophrenia (“I Am Not Sick–I Don’t Need Help!” by Dr. Xavier Amador, et al.) I am also reading quite a bit about child sexual abuse and its effects because my brother and I are both CSA survivors, and I’m trying to understand CSA and its effects on him and me and also how to break the vicious cycle so that I don’t put anyone through what he and I went through. I’m fighting an uphill battle because I don’t have the support of my family; and I’ve had to report my stepfather’s indiscretions so that nobody else gets hurt. Now I have to face my stepfather and my mother and tell them why I had to report him to the people in charge where he previously held a position of childcare worker. I have been through this before and it sickens me that I feel like I’m being made out to be the “bad guy” for doing the right thing. It should be the perpetrators who get punished, not the victims/survivors. Anyway, thank you for your posts and your comments. God bless you.

  125. After 11 years,I had to tell my girlfriend and also the mother of my Daughter,goodbye. She is now 1,465 miles away and I am a single father of my 1 year old. I am still getting used to this new found peace. No more straightening the office chairs. Her illness was Bi-Polar,Schitzo-affective,paranoia,personality disorder and seemingly,severe permanent melancholy. Zero function. In bed for up to 17 hours a day. This went on for years.Soon after the baby was born,Child protective services ordered her from the home. It was either,lose her or lose my Daughter. Finally a simple decision for once in my life. It is finally over. But so much of my life has been wasted. I can’t get that back. I am very glad I was forced to say good bye. Drew VahnBrun

  126. For the past 17 years my son has suffered from Schizophrenia, he was first diagnosed at age 20 and is now age 37. I can fully appreciate how difficult this and any other mental illness can be. When I look back over the past 17 years I honestly don’t know how I have managed, my son has been so manipulative, abusive both physically and emotionally and the financial burden has been huge. I’ve come close to having a break down so many times as a single parent I have been forced to cope with all of this without any support apart from services that have been totally inadequate. All I can say is it can and does get better, at the time I understand that this may be hard to believe but my son has grown up lately and now is starting to take on more responsibility for his illness and himself. He now lives independently and I am so proud of him for making a genuine effort to care for himself. These days I look forward to spending quality time with him without all the drama, we are still very close it’s different in a good way. I have returned to the work-force and now for the first time have a life of my own, mind you I’m 61 years old so it’s taken long enough but I’d just say to anyone who is having difficulty hang in there get what ever support you feel you may need but try to realise that nothing worthwhile comes easy, it does take time but things can improve vastly.

    • Hi Maxine,

      Yes, so many of us have no idea how we’ve survived mental illness, the human spirit is amazing.

      “All I can say is it can and does get better, at the time I understand that this may be hard to believe but my son has grown up lately and now is starting to take on more responsibility for his illness and himself.”

      Thank-you so much for that message. It isn’t true for everyone, but it is true for many and I’m glad it was true for you.

      I know your words of hope are welcomed by many.

      – Natasha Tracy

  127. mentally ill people are just so selfish. Why don’t they just pull themselves together, but then I feel the same way about people with terminal cancer , so selfish.

    • Jane- Point taken. Really. We are in a situation where my sister refuses help, refuses to help herself, calls the police on us regularly and has delusions that my mother is abusing my 4 year old daughter, so she took her. I know she is mentally ill and needs help. And we’ve tried. But we’re at a point that we don’t know what to do. So I am looking for, asking for opinions, from all sides. Trust me, I don’t want to say goodbye but I don’t know how to help her or help myself and my family.

      • Hi Nancy, We call these people who write such drivel trolls because they troll around the internet looking for people like us. They write their nonsense and try to get a rise.As Natasha would say “Don’t feed the trolls”. Although I’ve been known to throw them a snack or two before, it really is pointless going head to head with them.

        • Thanks Patricia. I won’t feed the trolls =), but I do have something more to share for anyone else reading. While the comment was in fact hurtful, making me feel like I’m very much the one in the wrong, it is one side of the argument I have with myself every hour of every day. There is truth to that side- can we blame them for a problem that is out of their control? The short answer is no. Can we make a decision to try to keep some degree of our own sanity when all else is failing? I don’t know, at least, I certainly don’t know how.

          Jane- I can tell you without a doubt that families dealing with this are not cutting ties and moving on to a good life. There is no peace or true light. There is sadness, guilt, remorse, feeling of helplessness, failure, and personal depression. It is a no-win situation. The only decision/control we have when our family member chooses (consciously or not) to get help is in deciding the degree of our own loss, sadness, guilt, failure, depression, etc.. that we can live with. Still, I appreciate your point of view which, I’m sure, is founded on it’s own very hurtful story, just like every one of us on here has one. I would challenge you to offer possible solutions to those of us who are struggling to find our point of view. Inform us, help us find our way. That is why I come to this site.

          • Nancy- My situation is similar to yours except the child is her child who I now have care of. I am not trying to attack you or anyone who is trying to care for someone in this terrible situation, but it makes me very angry that the mentally ill are not treated the same way as any other ill person.

            I cannot put my own name or more details as if she saw it , well it wouldn’t help.

    • Maybe if you posted your real name “Jane Smith” I would have more respect. Your statement is ridiculous. You are just trying to get a rise out of the community. I caution you that many here are fragile and desperate and turn here for help. Some may even potentially hurt themselves, especially when they read such negative and malicious comments. Do you really want that looming in your conscience?

    • Ah, trolls.

      Trolls are good for one thing and that is to show others how truly ignorant and acrimonious others can be.

      Thanks for your example.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • yes I have a close relative with mental illness. Attack away all of you, I’m used to it. I’ m sorry to be the one who tells you the truth . Ill people don’t choose to be ill.

        In my experience there is no treatment or care for people with mental illness and the current ‘They can only be helped if they choose to be ‘ is a total cop out.

        The mentally ill only have their families.

        • Hi Jane,

          Look, you’re right, what I said wasn’t very nice but that’s because you made a (ridiculous) blanket statement that tarred and feathered all ill people with the same brush which is patently ridiculous. It’s like saying people with green eyes are selfish. That’s nonsense.

          If you had a more nuanced approach or prefaced your statement with “in my opinion” or “in my experience” rather than referring to it as the “truth” you likely wouldn’t see this kind of attack. You no more speak the truth than anyone else who overly-generalizes does.

          – Natasha Tracy

        • Jane, I don’t wish to attack you but you sound incredibly angry and I’m sure, rightly so. I don’t believe that any of us are saying that you should callously abandon someone who is suffering from a mental illness. There does come a time, for some, after years of mistreatment, abuse, that leaving is the only option possible. There is a big difference. I agree with Natasha’s comment. When one leaves, it comes with massive pain, helplessness and guilt.

    • Jane,

      As a 13 year cancer survivor, I found your comment ridiculous & uncalled for. That’s all I’m going to say on the subject.

  128. I divorced a bipolar ? Husband 2 years ago. He does not assume responsibility for his illness or choices ..total denial. Blames me.

    I now have strict boundaries for my protection after being threatened and harassed…now I am “bitter”.

    I have lived it. Get out of the way ..it IS the Titanic.

    Thanks for having the courage to speak truth.

    • I’m just saying, I am a mentally ill person who needs to leave my family. They aren’t sick, at least that’s what they tell themselves. I am so sick because of them. I continue to be sick because of them. I go to therapy, I do what I can to better myself, challenge myself, push myself. I do not have the energy for their lives and my life at the same time. Being mentally ill is no easy thing to ‘get over’. It’s not a simple choice that you can make to just ‘turn it off’. yes, as with mostly everything else, there is some level of choice. But, it isn’t a whole lot one can choose, sometimes. If anyone makes your quality of life suffer, then you have to do what you have to do.

  129. My son is only 7 years old I can’t get him the help he needs he has no remorse kills animals destroys my house walls breaks windows with fist and won’t goto school among so many other behaviors so since I fear losing my job and I have other children I have to give him up how do I get over the system failing me and my son …….

    • Hi Marcie,

      I’m so sorry you’re in this situation. It sounds very hard.

      I would recommend:

      1. Start out by talking to you child’s doctor and get a referral from him. Get a referral to a psychiatrist that specializes in child mental illness.
      2. If that doesn’t work, contact the Child and Family Services Administration and see what they can do for you.
      3. I recommend contacting any local group that works with mental health such as a NAMI group. Those local groups will likely have more information about options for you.
      4. Find a child mental health specializing therapist – you’ll likely need to do some investigation to find this person – talk to psychiatrists

      Don’t give up. There are parents out there in the same situation as you. You can find the help.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • Marcie replies:

        Thanks for your advice but he has seen several psychiatrists has in home counselor has 29 baker acts has been in 2 six month residential Sipp ( state in patient program). And now trying to get him in a other they say it’s going to take months cause his dr resigned new dr doesn’t know him so I can’t lose my job waiting

        • Here’s the news – the buck stops with you. Take a deep breath. You alone know what your son needs. Take another breath. You can do it.

  130. Thank you for giving me permission not to be abused by my mentally ill family. About 10 years ago, I cut ties with my family save one person to spare my child from abuse. Now my one remaining tie to family is showing signs of mental illness. I am uncertain what the clinical diagnosis would be, but I do know that the depression, sexual deviance involving underage people and some narcissistic traits are evident.

    I cannot allow him around my son because I think he would hurt him. He has gotten worse since I cut ties with the rest of the MI clan, but it is so hard not to blame myself and see him as a child in footie pajamas needing protection from the rest of the crazies that we both grew up with. Survivor guilt is crushing, but my primary responsibility has always been to my own small family. I see this relative tomorrow for the first time in 4 years. I have been dreading it for months because I know that his abuse and mental status is in his hands alone.

    It is so painful to love someone that cannot be helped and who does not want help.

  131. I have a 26 year old daughter whom I have not seen for three years. I never would have thought she would be in Summit Behavioral Hospital for this length of time. Please give me guidance in how I can see my daughter on a regular basis. Her dad and I are just devastated that they will not let us know her needs and visit with her once in awhile. I feel as though they are trying to keep her from us.

    • Hi Mary,

      I can’t say anything specific as I don’t know the details of your case but two things.

      1. Have you considered that your daughter may not want to see you? I’m not saying this is the case but it would explain the facility’s behavior.

      2. Have you tried writing a letter instead of visiting? This might open up communication.

      3. If you really can’t see your daughter even though she wants to see you, I recommend you contact a lawyer.

      I hope that helps.

      – Natasha Tracy

  132. No gurantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. Why does it say, in brackets, “sorry, I have to say that”? Intriguing and also illuminating. I landed here for the first time, reading at times aghast, others heart dragging in hopelessness. Where we talking about breast cancer patients, terminally ill heart transplant recipients, people with diabetes, individuals living with Downs Syndrome, I know (I don’t have to say that), the thread would progress in an entirely different manner. Sides would not be taken, disasterous sinkings of liners would not be referred to in relation to the weight with which so called “loved one” drags down “us”. Us and them. They are the destroyers of my life due to their selfish, self-centred, resource draining, illness. Have none of you read about the enormous lack of mental health services out there? Someone points to the numerous helplines and support sites, and orgs, and institutes, and other mastheads operating with genuine and sincere intent to aid those downright unlucky, maligned, undeserving, unwanted, debilitaing, life-quality and longevity stealing, and at often times deadly, psychiatric illness’s some individuals are expected to contend with on their own, and quietly please. We are trying to fortify our lives financially, socially, in keeping with current trends, and without interrupting our news digesting Sunday mornings, and more to the point, our family get-togethers. Even if they ARE your family? If we cannot help those who cannot help themselves, what is our life worth? I hear the shrieks of “Cannot? Willnot is the accurate desripter here. Why wil they not? What could possibly compel an individual to knowingly, with intent as stated above, destroy their own AND our lives with such devastating purpose? Care not, I think is the most obvious answer. People resist treatment for reasons. They don’t resist treatment because it is working for them. Misery doesn’t work for humans, and any fraction of hope filtering through a blackened pane is, instinctively grasped for survival. Treatment in some way makes them feel worse. They may not even be able to locate exactly why, but this is a possibility. It is not the worse of healing either. Unhelpful individuals/organisations are fairly spread throughout city areas. Band aid fixes that require a modicum of well being before they can help. Or alternately, catering for a specialty your “cared for but inflicting themselves on my life” has not, or may never be elligable for. An individual experiencing serious mental psychopathology requires a highly professional, highly qualified, eveidence informed and implementing, trauma informed, co-ordinatinated, cohesive, and co-operating TEAM. All invested individuals will flounder without a network of health specialist professionals who are all acting with the patients acute treatment, and eventual recovery and rehabilitation in the forefront of their minds. The only real option for this type of care, assuming struggling families are not relying on private health care, is a government area health service. Multi-disciplinary teams are effective, proven, stable, accountable, free, motivated in the clients interests, experienced and therefore pretty much impossible to access. If it was possible to die without dying, and suicide attempts are often not sufficient, to be so near death and not die, that and blind luck, are seemingly the only pathways for the sufferring to seek. Alone. Navigating an entire government arm, beurocratic and complex, is bewildering and impossible when one is at their peak. When an individual is not discriminated against. When the seeker is aided by loved ones and carers. When there is hope at the end of the tunnel. When they believe they are worth the effort. When they feel loved. When they have previously stayed for treatment at hospital the experience did involve get well cards, flowers, care, support. It didn’t involve isolation cells, traumatic treatment, abusive interactions, payphone visits begging relatives or anyone to pick up a couple of things, knickers, shampoo, for them, without being accused of malingering and attention-seeking.
    Be grateful for your mental health. Privelage of health through genetic inheritence is not something we earned. It is not a hard fought for freedom. It is bestowed and it is a privelage.

    • Hi Sabine,

      The reason why I say “sorry I have to say that” is because I like to think that my readers are smart enough to know that what I say is not medical advice and that I’m a flawed and imperfect human being, meaning that I make mistakes and no one should use the information here without discussing it with their doctor. I like to think that my readers do not have to be told this. My readers are smart people.

      I think you are speaking from a perspective as a person who has never been in the terrible situation that some others have been. It’s not about “us” and “them” it’s about a person trying to deal with another who may be abusive, violent, dangerous and unpredictable. If those qualities were found in a person with another illness, the same response would be reasonable. Until you have lived in the shoes of someone who is beaten by their own daughter, you really ought not judge them so harshly.

      Of course, the vast majority of people never experience this. The vast majority of people with a mental illness are, perhaps challenging, but quite reasonable to live with. However the small minority of people who are not that way are what I’m speaking of here.

      You may be incredulous but you just haven’t seen what it’s like for families who have tried to get someone help over and over and over without success because the person simply walks out of treatment centers or stops taking meds or refuses to see doctors. And then can’t pay their rent and expect their family to cover it. Over and over. One unfair tragedy after another. What it comes down to is how one person treats another and you don’t have to stand for that kind of abuse simply because one person has a mental illness.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • What if that person you are speaking of,was not another, but You. Now give that some thought. How would you feel? Do you know? Imagine the struggle! Can you even begin to understand. All you see is the struggling individual. Years ago, many of these people were thrown in large mental health facilities and just about forgotten. You are sending a good message to return to those times, and put all the lives and struggles of the past wonderful people who suffered in attempts for us to get a better understanding of how to help a loved one. Many will go through terrible troubles trying to help others in some way. We jsut have to do the best we can, hope and pray and utilize all professional services to try to help in what ways possible. Giving up is always easy. We are all in need of hope and help in one way or another. Marc

        • Hi Marc,

          I don’t really have to give it any thought, it is me.

          People have commonly made the mistake thinking that I am encouraging others to leave or stop supporting those with a mental illness when nothing could be farther from the truth. What I’m saying is that sometimes that is the only option, and there is nothing wrong with that.

          To be clear, abusing other is not OK just because you have a mental illness and others do not have to stand for being treated that way. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to leave someone who beats you, regardless as to mental illness. This does not take us back to the past in the least what this does is encourage personal responsibility. I may be going through all the troubles in the world, that doesn’t make it OK to abuse others.

          And if you’e never been in the kind of situation these people live in, you have no right to judge them.

          – Natasha Tracy

  133. Thank you.

    I am a sister of a brother much like yours.

    Your post left an impression that exceeds the limitations of my penmanship.

    Thank you for posting about such a personal matter.

      • I am a mother of a bipolar son who for 15 years( He is 30) has needed help but, stops taking meds and then the merry go round begins again, his father siblings no one can stand the abuse anymore. He has called people and told them he is going to hurt hiself only to have the police take him to the hospital and release him. I am exhausted and pay for his life wants and needs. which is alcohol most times. I have been in this abusive relationship trying to save someone who wont save himself. Its amazing what a manipulative man he has become.
        You are right but it is hard to let go of him. It is almost a life that I have made for myself and I am used to it. What life ??

  134. Im one who has been abandoned by everyone immediate family and all. All i can say is i will never talk to my brother sisters wife and child again. If i decide to live i plan on disappearing for ever. F all of you!

    • Hi Bipolar,

      I have written about that too. Many of us with a mental illness have been abandoned for one reason or another – or, of course, no reason at all. I’m sorry to hear it has happened to you with so many.

      Try to remember though, things tend to look darkest in these times and it won’t always be like this. Not everyone feels the way these people have. Not everyone abandons others. You don’t need to disappear, you just need to take a little step forward and find new people with whom to build your life.

      Easier said than done, I know. All I’m saying is that life is a moving target, as is this illness. It won’t always be this way. You won’t always be this way. And they may not always be this way either.

      – Natasha Tracy

  135. It’s been a while since I last posted. You may recall I’m the one with the sister who has been showing very clear signs of mental illness. Her most recent incident included “hearing” my daughter crying and “knowing” my mom was abusing her so she forced herself into the room and took my daughter out of the house and wouldn’t release her. Police came and didn’t do anything, county mental health professionals came and detained her. Court hearing at the hopsital decided she wasn’t an imminent threat to anyone (ha!). We told her at the hearing that we would begin the eviction process if she didn’t agree to get help. When asked what her plan was, she told the judge that she would use her retirement funds to move out- clear signal to me that she had no intention of gettin help. That day my mom filed to have an eviction notice delivered. Fast forward three weeks and she shows up at my condo today with a big smile offering me a piece of fruit. I didn’t want it and asked is she is agreeing to get help. She said forget it, “Don’t F$%k with me” and she walked out. I followed her a bit to say my piece (I know I shouldn’t have perhaps)- when she is ready to get help, we will help you, if not you have the formal eviction notice, does she understand what she did to her 4-yr old niece? That she has not been the same since, is completely terrorized. She proceeded to tell me “We know who you are”, “You need to pay attention to what’s going on in your home”. I told her from across the street to stay away from my kids and my mom. So aside from letting me vent about this incident, I wonder what your thoughts are. I realize she wanted to give me fruit as a peace offering, partly because the date on the eviction is Aug 5, partly because in her mind she might want to try to make up. But when asked if she is willing to get help, she blows up. Some might say let her back in, love her enough to guide her to help (we’ve tried in the past). In my mind she took my child and that is a line crossed. I know she is mentally ill but we cannot live our life catering to her. My mother is fearful when she leaves the house that she will pop out of nowhere and take one of my twins, we all look around when we leave the house every time. I want to hear from all sides how I should have reacted. I am trying to come to terms that it is okay that we are taking these actions, it’s okay to say goodbye. She is refusing our help.

  136. Im married to some one who is hooked on pain medication, xanax, and alcohal. Also claims he is depressed. I have left in the past he seems better for a while and back to the same old crap once we are back together for a while. I realy dont think he is depressed.i do think he is an addict though. And his circumstances are destroying me.i feel im becomming depressed for it.i have considered suiside at times becauce i have no support system and if i leave he will have no one. He tells me he is going to take a nap for ever. Like kill him self. I admit there are times i wish he would then maybe i can have some peace in my life.he wont leave me he tells me how i fucked up his life and im more of a emtional punching bag than a wife.how can i get out i have no money and no where to go. Maybe i should just do my self in as well. And for sure there will be peace. No one gives a shit about me any way.

    • Lynn. It’s not true…I give a shit! You will see that many people here have gone through similar situations and you have reached out the right place. You will hear a lot stories here and you will know that you are not alone in this.
      Pleae keep reaching out. It maybe that you do have to say goodbye unless he can get the help that he needs, but cross that bridge when you get to it. For now try to encourage him to get help and you could try Al-onon meetings in your area. (you can look them up online) It is a great place to vent and share your thoughts with people that are going through the same situation.
      Hang in there, we are here, we are listening and we do give a shit.
      Warmly,
      Patricia

    • Hi Lynn,

      I understand you are in a desperate place right now, and there is no easy answer, but suicide isn’t reasonable – there are many other options.

      It may be the case that your husband is depressed, it may not, but I can tell you that being on that combination of drugs would _make_ a person feel depressed as those are all depressants. A person in that situation would need to deal with their addiction to see how their mental health really was before the mental health issue, if one exists, could be treated.

      I have always said that it’s not right for one person to destroy another due to mental illness, and addiction is the same. You have every right to a happy life and if being with this man is preventing you from that life that you deserve, you should find a way out. That is why there are divorces.

      And as for his threats of suicide – that is not uncommon with addicts and is emotional blackmail. No one has the right to do or say that to you. He is responsible for his actions – including suicide – you are not.

      If you feel you have nowhere to go, I would contact a woman’s shelter in your area and see what they recommend. You may be able to stay there for a time while other measures are put into place. Believe me, you never have to stay in an abusive situation. There is _always_ help for you.

      – Natasha Tracy

    • Lynn- There are ALWAYS options. I know you feel some sense of obligation and love, if not as a wife, then at the very least a person. He needs help. You need help. I know it feels like there is no one to turn to and no one to help but there are. For you, there are shelters and programs to help with food. For him, there are definitely programs out there. But as I am experiencing, the person needs to want to get the help. Although, I wonder if he is threatening you or himself, can’t you call authorities? I understand the need to want to stick around in case anything should happen. Or is you leave, you might worry you can’t monitor the situation. But at some point, the cycle of being an emotional punching bag has to stop. You will know when that point is.

  137. I have aquired severe mental illness by not having my thyroid checked, my levels are double and i did not sleep or eat or drink much fluids for over one month when i went crazy and suffered a massive physcotic episode. Now I am useless cant do anything at all, cant sleep without meds that are hard to get and dont do anything at all to care for myself any longer. Its so bad that i have to find a way out cause i refuse to be put in a mental hopsital for I know the damage done due to so long without sleep has done permanent damage and they will nver let me out or give me anything to ever sleep again, just a whole lot of phycotic meds that make matters worse and dont do a thing. So now all i can do is live minute by minute to spend as much time with my kids as possible then im going to have to jump of a cliff or something. But dowbt i will cause my children will suffer more.

    • Hi Natasha:

      I saw a video with you in it (I think it was the “Healthy Place” video). In it you alluded to a friend of yours deciding to say “goodbye” to you. I think you mentioned she did this after watching you be strapped down to receive ECT. I apologize if I got that information wrong. You mentioned how painful that was for you emotionally. I cannot apologize for your friend yet I would like to acknowledge that your pain seems an appropriate response to her leaving you. So many people leave, walk away or say “goodbye” to a mentally ill individual. Your video did not indicate that you were violent or abusive. I do not know all the details, yet I would like to extend my compassion to you in a simple note. You also said in the video that every day you want to die or at least think about it. So many people in my life are suicidal. I am not the type to blow smoke in their ear yet I do tell them I will miss them and if there is anything they would like me to say at their eulogy if they “off” themselves. Statistics show that people with psychiatric challenges are more likely to commit suicide than others without. I applaud you for speaking out about your condition and for having been willing to try so many medical modalities as recommended by medical providers. I would imagine thinking you want to die everyday would indicate you do not feel as if anything is working, yet you continue to put one foot forward and then another. Something in you does not want to die and I wonder what that is ? I could come up with my own conclusions yet it is that part of you that I hope you will befriend. It is a shame that current medications, therapies, or whatever you are trying or having tried feels like it is failing you. It’s awesome that so many people acknowledge your bravery for speaking out and how you have helped them in so many ways. In the event that any of my writing has, is or will be interpreted as “anti-Natasha,” please believe me when I say that is not my intention. I may not agree with what is posted on your page by you or anyone else, yet I am a mental health advocate who wants others to not add more harm to those suffering from a psychiatric medical condition. For all I know I am harming some, yet that is not my intention. Again, I would like to acknowledge your courage, your tenacity and your suffering. You are remarkable in so many ways as evidenced by those who write to you with words of appreciation.

      • Thank-you Betsy.

        It’s OK to be “anti-Natasha” now and then. People genuinely feel that way and it’s OK.

        That particular video was more than 2 years ago now and yes, it was about someone who did leave me although, for the record, she never saw me “strapped down” just laying down. I suspect the horrible part for her was seeing me go through it, not so much the ECT itself, which is relatively innocuous.

        Anyway, thank-you for your compassion and kind words. They are appreciated.

        – Natasha Tracy

  138. I knew a man (let’s call him George) through a friend of mine, who had a son with schizophrenia. I don’t know the father’s entire story, and I believe his son was in his late 30s at the time I will be speaking of. Some of you may know the challenges of many schizophrenics and how accessing treatment is often very difficult, although not impossible. George wanted his life to include social events, painting and parties with other friends, and never spoke of his son when I was around. I knew that he had a daughter though. I only came to know about his son after his son died. I was so freaked out to (1) find out that George even had a son, (2) that George knew I was involved with helping the mentally ill and never spoke to me about his son, and (3) that his son died so tragically. I was dumbfounded. Was George’s son not important enough to even speak of ? If you don’t speak about your children to people you know, what does that mean ? Obviously, we can all choose to see that however we want. Perhaps due to shame, pain, guilt or simple disregard, George said “goodbye” to his son because he was mentally ill. George’s son died because he walked onto an extremely busy freeway.

    • Maybe “George” didn’t speak about his son because he didn’t want to talk about the abuse he had inflicted on him!
      It’s a difficult thing saying goodbye to someone who has a mental illness and maybe people like you made it difficult for him to come out and say so. You make it sound like it’s easy to stop communicatin with someone you love. Betsy, you obiously don’t know the sheer magnitude of abuse you can receive from someone with a mental illness and they especially “go off” on the ones closest to them.
      I know this first hand because I was the abuser. My parents said goodbye to me and I wasn’t allowed to see me nephews. It’s the best thing that could have happened. I sought help and got on medication. Once that happened I could be around those that loved me the most and it’s a great motivator to keep me on my meds.

      • As I have written before, I will assume that most people that choose to say “goodbye” to a person with a mental illness, just couldn’t handle the pain, nuisance or abuse. I have been beaten up by a person with mental illness, among other things, and I have been involved with the mentally ill for more than two decades. I simply offer my opinion and do not claim that it is right or wrong to others. I am fully aware of the pain people have expressed about their personal decision to say “goodbye,” to walk away, to be “done” with the person(s), to have given up, or to say “it’s not my problem.” You wrote that you are a person with a mental illness and that you “WERE” abusive. It sounds like that means in the past. Certainly, I hope you do not experience an unwarranted episode of psychosis like some people do simply by taking an antihistamine or prescribed medication that they had no idea would interact with their other medication. You wrote you are no longer abusive and yet you are still the same person with the same history. You are deserving of a second chance, a third chance, a one-thousandeth of a chance. Whoever sticks around or not chooses to (whether someone is sick or well). I do not advocate saying “goodbye.” If someone chooses to “DISTANCE” themselves from an abusive person, that seems more fitting, although I am not the authority on that decision ? If you did not like your parents than their “goodbye” was probably welcomed; however, from what you wrote, I think you did like them, and if they allowed you to return they obviously did not tell you “goodbye” – instead they let you back in – you are a fortunate person. There are people in our society that want to help the mentally ill. Had it not been for them, where would you be ? If everyone says “goodbye,” then what type of society are we ? With or without your parents, someone cared for you – why ? Are you worthy of being cared for ? I believe so, and whether someone abuses people or not, you are still a human being. Perhaps George was ashamed of his son, and did not want others to know he had a child with a mental illness – what would people think of him ? What would people think of his son ? How can people understand when many remain closeted about the mentally ill ? Even people without a mental illness abuse others. Reading that you sought help is awesome – so many cannot because they are unable to as they are so mentally ill that don’t know what that means or experience massive paranoia. I hope George never forgets his son – forgetting his son is the ultimate “goodbye.”

        • Betsy,
          You seem to be writting the same argument over and over again and yet you are missing the point!
          You say that you have been beaten by mentally ill people yet you continue to work with them, well it sounds like that’s the job you signed up for. Would you continue to be beaten by the same patient day in and day out without any consequences? I’m assuming that they are under your care because they cannot be taken care of at home so haven’t their families already said goodbye?
          You say the “I simply offer my opinion and do not claim that it is right or wrong to others” but that is exactly what you are doing…read your own comments. I am simply arguing to the contrary. You seem hell bend on trying to make out that these loving families are doing something wrong by insisting that they are treated with respect when this is the hardest decision that they have had to make, ever!
          Yes I have bipolar disorder but that doesn’t give me an excuse to be an abuser. My parents are very loving and devoted to me but had to say cut me off because it was unsafe for me to be around my family and I refused to get assistance or take medication.
          The point is this: sometimes it is necessary to let go of the ones you love the most and hope that they will find their way back and ask for the help that they need. If they do find their way then by all means welcome them with conditions that they get medication and continue to take them. To give second and third chances before they are willing to get help is just enabling them to continue bad behavior.
          As far as the antihistamine goes, I have seasonal allergies and take them daily with no repercussions.

          • Patricia: I am saddened that you wrote that I “seem hell bent on trying to make out that these loving families are doing something wrong.” Perhaps my writing style is awful and I just can’t see it, yet have I condemned anyone for making their decisions or have I simply not agreed with some of them ? Perhaps I did – I don’t save all of my ramblings. Decisions of all sorts are hard to make and choosing to say “goodbye” to someone seems very difficult for a lot of people. You do know that some people pretty much just write a person off and really don’t feel they should care ? Like it’s nothing – bye bye. An then there are people that try and try and try, and then say they’ve had enough. Those are two different scenarios (although there are many many more). It’s good to read on Natasha’s page that many people really really care and have just come to their wits end on what to do or not do. You wrote that you have bipolar disorder and it doesn’t give you an excuse to be an abuser. If you were autistic would you have a better defense ? Some autistic children will swing their bodies wildly around a room crashing into everything and everyone. Is their autism abusive ? If you swing at someone while in the throes of psychosis or are autistic, are you an abuser or are you simply ill ? From what you wrote, it sounds like you feel very confident that you are taking steps to avoid being what you think is an “abuser.” When you say abuser are you referring to a physical abuser or a verbal abuser ? I guess that doesn’t matter because abuse is abuse is abuse (which is relative to the person deciding on what is abuse and what is not). Many people think that giving people another “chance” is just fine. Not everyone can stick around for the seventh chance or the twenty-third; however, some can. I am not saying (at least I don’t think I’m saying) that people are “required” to stay. People leave people all the time for less severe things like having different political views or who simply don’t enjoy football or whatever. I have been verbally abused over my gender, my weight, my choice to swear, my comments on this page and yet hey, I’m still standing. Now, if people were beating me daily and I stayed, that would be my choice. Uh, many people do that (example: the wife of the wife beater). I would not say that is a “healthy” thing to stay and be beaten. Yet, that is a personal decision. I have spoken to many people that stay with drug addicts and alcoholics and give them plenty of chances to get better – some do, many don’t. Some married women stay with men that sleep with tons of other women just for the money. Hey, we all make our own choices in life. It sounds like you are thankful that your family cut you off, and I am glad to hear that that was what it took for you to get whatever assistance you found to be beneficial. Not everyone finds assistance, not everyone has families that love them, and not everyone is able to know they need assistance. Bad behavior is in the eye of the beholder. Please do not think I am ignorant when I say that. I would imagine that most of us would come to a consensus on what is deemed “bad” yet everyone makes their own decisions to stay or to go. Imagine the pain a person may feel that loves their mentally ill brother who may be in jail instead of a hospital only to hear that he was gang raped while incarcerated. Who’s the sick one now ? Not that I am the authority on the answer, but I say the jail (i.e the “system). Medically challenged individuals need help. I vote for therapeutic help, not punitive. Often times, that is a fine line. Many people get said “help” behind bars. Some people find help with therapy alone – others may be required to take 8 different medications a day to cope. Mentally ill people are not a one size fits all group. I believe Natasha has said that. Hopefully you will reconsider my writing and see it simply as another person’s viewpoint. I do not ask that you agree.

        • Betsy, have you considered that maybe he hasn’t mentioned his son because saying “goodbye” has left him feeling helpless and guilty but he had no other choice?? Neither of us can claim to know what led up to all that happening. Why are you making so many assumptions?? You really don’t know what the father went through. Why are you just assuming he was callous? When you continue in a relationship (mentally ill or not) with someone who continues to abuse you, you are ENABLING them!!! How is that helping?? I agree with you that it is soften out of their control but how are you helping them by being a punching bag??

      • Hi Patricia, I just wanted to applaud your response to the prior blog on “George.” You are amazing to have done what you did, and lived to be the good person you are today. There are so many different senario’s, and other people should not judge, how a person feels about talking about their son, or daughter. It is just so personal. My situation is difficult, since my son was killed by drunk driver. Sometimes, I talk about it, depending on who I’m talking to, and if I even know them that well. I am not ashamed of my son, what so ever, although, we had our times. I only wish he would have had the chance to get to the place he needed to be. It just wasn’t his time. I will say one thing, when I do discuss my son, people tend to run away like scared little cowardly rabbits. If you do decide to dicuss “personal” issue’s, it’s like waiting for a bomb to go off, people just go silent, because they are skeptical, and uninformed. They have this perfect life, “not really,” and don’t want to hear any kind of thing like this, to them it’s “I don’t understand.” Well, I do, and my son’s life meant something! So, there you have it, it’s personal, and some people just don’t deserve your time..They may need to look into their own mirrors..”It’s personal.”

        • Hi Lost and Grieving,
          Thank you for your comment :)
          I am so sorry to hear about your son that must have been very hard for you. From your previous blogs I get that you did everything you possible could for your son and you should be proud of that fact.
          You’re absolutely right…everyone has the right to be private and not share things that are personal. Especailly when people can be so judgemental and can’t begin to understand the hurt that you have gone through. Unfortunately, mental illness is such a stigma and I’m hoping some day with blogs and books like Natasha’s that we can spread the word that it is not something to be ashamed of.
          I want you to know that we are out here and we are listening so if you need to vent…vent away!
          Patricia
          .

        • I am the type of person that is disappointed that so many people just can’t “talk” about stuff – like you said, they run like “scared little cowardly rabbits.” You didn’t ask them to write you a check, you just wanted to bond with other human beings probably to get some community support since you are or were grieving. This is one of the hardest things for me, as a person who gets involved, to deal with (and I try daily to accept that some people are just that way)…….that being, the people that run away, the ones who refuse to “talk” about it, the ones who judge the situation with a condescending attitude. Boo hiss on them. In both my and your opinion, your son’s life did mean something. If you are an introvert it would make sense to keep it to yourself – as you may have gathered by my writing style, I am most definitely an extrovert. I would take away your loss if I could. I am so sorry to hear that your son died. You are a wonderful person to have cared.

        • (I think I posted this under someone else’s comment but this message is intended for Lost & Grieving relating to her son).

          I am the type of person that is disappointed that so many people just can’t “talk” about stuff – like you said, they run like “scared little cowardly rabbits.” You didn’t ask them to write you a check, you just wanted to bond with other human beings probably to get some community support since you are or were grieving. This is one of the hardest things for me, as a person who gets involved, to deal with (and I try daily to accept that some people are just that way)…….that being, the people that run away, the ones who refuse to “talk” about it, the ones who judge the situation with a condescending attitude. Boo hiss on them. In both my and your opinion, your son’s life did mean something. If you are an introvert it would make sense to keep it to yourself – as you may have gathered by my writing style, I am most definitely an extrovert. I would take away your loss if I could. I am so sorry to hear that your son died. You are a wonderful person to have cared.

  139. I need somewhere to vent and this seemed like the best place. I posted in the past about my sister who is showing obvious signs of mental illness but refuses to get help. Since my post, my mom and I have gone to a local NAMI support group. Interesting but I’m not sure it’s been totally helpful. All of the families there were talking about their family members who are on medication and doing so well. We aren’t anywhere near that point. I read this blog and saying goodbye makes so much sense. Then I go to the support group and they tout tough love but continued love and support. I see both sides. What do I do? We had an issue today. My mom took my 4 yr old to her house to pick up a shirt (my sister moved in over a 1.5 years ago when she lost her job but my mom stays with us since she is uncomfortable with my sister’s odd behavior). Mom and daughter went into mom’s room to grab a shirt, daughter playfully closed the door. My sister proceeds to bang on the door, opens it and grabs my daughter and walks out the door. My daughter is crying to please let her go back to grandma, my sister is yelling that my mom is an abuser and knocks on all of the neighbors’ doors yelling. Everyone calls the police. By the time they got there my husband had arrived to forcibly took my daughter back. Policy said she needed help after listening to her tell them all about how my mom abuses our kids but she refused the help and said she was not going to hurt herself or others. They left. I spent the rest of the afternoon talking to the police on the scene who was so cavalier and made me feel like it’s our fault. I called local mental health authorities and the best they can do is send a team out to try to talk to her in a few days, if she will talk. We are at a total loss.

    • Hi Nancy,
      I am so sorry that you are going through this right now. I can’t imagine how hard this must be for your family. i am not sure I have any constructive advise for you as I am bipolar and I have probably caused equal distress to my family before I got help. I didn’t get better until I accepted that I had a problem and started on medication.
      Please don’t give up hope. Someone here will be able to advise you better. I just wanted you to know that I am out here and you can vent to me or this forum as much as you want. We are listening!

    • Hi Nancy,

      Feel free to vent here any time. It’s OK with me :)

      I’m glad to hear that you reached out to a NAMI group even if it didn’t perfectly fit your needs. I’m not sure if you took the opportunity to express your situation, but if you did, you might have found that many other people have been in your situation before they got to the place where they currently sit. There is always a time before treatment, and you’re in that time now. Many have been there, almost everyone, believe me.

      It’s very hard to know what to do and I do not envy you your choice. I know that all the choices are bad ones, but it’s up to you to pick the least bad option. I’m sorry to say it, but that’s probably what you’re looking at, but I’m sure that’s no surprise to you.

      Your recent situation sounds very tough and it sounds like you’ve been through similar things before. I know it feel like a no-win but maybe talking with a local mental health team will make a difference. We can always hope for that.

      And I’m sorry the police didn’t take your concerns seriously – some officials are better than others with issues of mental illness. But rest assured, it is not your fault. You are dealing with something very hard and fault is really the last thing to be worried about.

      You may have to get some distance between you and your sister. That may be what it has come down to. You have my thoughts and my support either way.

      – Natasha Tracy

    • Natasha/Patricia- Thank you both so much for your support and kind words. An update for everyone…… After yesterday’s incident, I had called a local mobile crisis unit to see what we could do. They offered to come out, in fact they called this morning. They met us at my mom’s condo and attempted to speak to her. She declined. Based on our testimonies of what happened yesterday, they decided to detain her. Why their assessment was different than the police’s yesterday is unclear. So it was a long morning of waiting to find a bed, get an order, and wait for the police. While we waited, neighbors walked by and I got more information as to what has been going on- accused someone of stalking her, told a neighbor she should never open her balcony window, yelled at another neighbor and kicked her dog, etc…. She has a hearing on Friday morning to determine the next steps. In all likelihood, she will be released since she does not meet the BIG criteria of being a harm to herself or others. Even though I would say that grabbing my child and walking out of the house and holding her against her will until forcibly removed is a indicator that she is headed in that direction, even if she thought she was saving my daughter. As of right now, I believe we, including my mom, are all strong enough to give her the ultimatum- get help and give us permission to monitor or get evicted. The fact that we had our family member taken away in handcuffs to be evaluated is something I can’t come to terms with. I don’t feel guilt, but I certainly feel a compilation of everything else. How should I feel? What do I do? How do we explain this to our kids? Everyone says that everyone goes through this part. How long does this part actually last? Will we ever get to the other side where medication actually plays a part? For those who are the bipolar family member, what works? The road to recovery seems to be an option for people I come in contact with in the support group and here online. But are these exceptional strong people and a minority?

      • Hi Nancy, I am so glad that you were able to take care of your situation quite quickly. At least now your sister is in a place were she can be medicated and get the help that she needs.
        I think that it is very important for you to set boundaries for your sister when she comes out. Maybe let her know that she may not be around your daughter unless she is taking her meds. It worked for me. If I came off my meds or quit my job I was asked to leave the house. It took a few times before I realized that they were serious. I was competely cut off from the family until I could get myself under good control.
        I’m sure that your sister will eventually learn that she has too much to lose, but if she doesn’t, know that you have done everything possible to help her. Sometimes you just have to let the cards fall as they may.

        • Thank you Patricia. Here is the issue. She presents fine, the case is weak so she will likely be released tomorrow morning when one of the three notoriously lax magistrates deems she is not a harm to herself or others. I doubt they will medicate her for a 2-day stay- yesterday was a holiday, today they will see her but I don’t know what they will do besides talk. So my fear is she comes out the same, but so much more angry. Do we see her during visitors hours to talk to her about consequences (formal eviction, no family contact) or wait until after the hearing? What would you have responded to? I’ve been told that this is a lengthy process and that this particular steps happens MANY times before something happens. Is this true?

          • HI Nancy, I’m not sure about the system here as I was raised in Wales in the United Kingdom. I am sure that Natasha can speak more intelligently regarding the process here.
            I think there is a way for family members to have her held for 72 hours especially as her illness presented in the form of being a danger to your daughter and some of the neighbours, and your neighbours dog.
            I would have responded to my family letting me know the consequences before the hearing. I think if you tell her that XYZ will happen if she doesn’t get help and then let her know that there will be a hearing and that you will speak against her that she will be more likely to oblige.
            Unfortunately, it is imposible to tell how many times you will have to go through this until she finally gets help but I know for me being cut off from the people that I loved was the cataclysm for my transformation.
            I wish you much luck. Please let me know how I can help further and keep me posted. I would love to hear a positive outcome for you.
            Sincerely,
            Patricia.

          • Hi Nancy,

            Well the good news is that there was _some_ action, even if that only seems like a pinprick of light, at least it’s something.

            I can understand your frustration at having an ill person who presents well and manages to “snow” everyone into thinking they are “fine.” As Patricia says, putting the consequences in place may be the impetus she needs to get help. It can be very motivating if you know that you can’t see the people that you love.

            I’m not sure when you should tell her this, but if you can do it while she’s away from the home (ie, being held) I do think it would be better so that if she’s going to get upset, she does it safe and somewhere she can’t do any damage. Maybe move her things out for her while she’s away if you can. Get the locks changed. It isn’t her house, after all, so I believe you are within your rights to do that (although contact a lawyer if you’re expecting her to bring a legal challenge).

            You and your loved ones have a right to be safe.

            I can’t say if this will do the trick or not, but it’s one step forward that you can take.

            – Natasha Tracy

    • This has probably been the worst week, ever. Between my sister acting on a delusion that my mom was abusing her and taking her, and the cops, and the mobile crisis unit, and more cops, and a court order taking her away in handcuffs, I wasn’t sure it could get worse. Well, maybe I did. The process here was that she had a hearing scheduled for today. An independent evaluator called with questions, making it seem like WE we out of line for going the route we did. Then the lawyer acting on our behalf called who basically said we had little chance but we’ll see. My mother, husband, a neighbor, and I all testified before a special magistrate who seemed bored, fell asleep during testimony (evidenced by the fact that he overruled something as not being presented as evidence when it was- he was asleep), The evaluator determined that she definitely has mental health “problems” but she was not a danger. He indicated that she did not feel she had any mental health issues, even after he recommended she seek treatment. Luckily they asked what our plan was for her during the hearing. We laid it out- actively participate in treatment for as long as deemed medically necessary AND sign releases to allow us to engage/participate/monitor OR face eviction from my mother’s home and no communication with us. They asked what her plans were- she said she would pull her 401K and work with social services to identify next steps. Basically, no to our request. Understandably she refused to talk to us immediately afterwards but she wouldn’t even entertain talking through the logistics of getting her dog back to her (we cared for him while she was gone). So, my mom decided to proceed with the eviction process. We stopped by the courthouse to get a notice served (Monday). She’ll have 30 days to vacate at which time we can start legal action. I feel SO INCREDIBLY sad. Breathing makes me cry. I love her so much and miss her, the old her. But I keep trying to remind myself that she hasn’t been her old self in a very long time. I keep reminding myself of how she walks in the street, confronts neighbors, and most importantly, acted on a delusion by taking my daughter. But it doesn’t lessen then sadness and pain and some small guilt I feel. I think we did the right thing, the only thing we had left to do to offer her help. And she refused. Family friends are offering to call her to show her that there is someone on her side, not everyone is “against” her. I wonder if that’s what we’ve become- a group of people against her.

      • Hii Nancy,
        I am so sorry that you and your family are going through this but you have done the right thing.
        By showing her that her past behavior is not acceptable and by cutting her off she will have to fend for herself. At first she will seem cavalier about it and will be very angry at you. By standing your ground you will show her that you will not accept her back until she gets help.
        Hopefully, eventually, she will realize that it will be the only way to have a relationship with the people who love her the most. It might take her a long time, if ever, to come to that conclusion but if she does come around it will be a critical time to get her the help that she needs and to insist that she starts a treatment regime.
        It’s okay to protect the ones that you love even if it is from another family memeber. You are doing the best that you can for you sister. I hope she comes to realize it!
        Sincerely,
        Patricia

      • Hi Nancy,

        Well, if you want my opinion, I feel that you did the right thing. No person – mentally ill or not – has the right to abuse you and put you in danger. You have the right to protect yourself and you (your mom) certainly has the right to access her own property and decide who lives there.

        You are _not_ against her. Remember,

        There is nothing I won’t do to help you get better, but there is nothing I will do to help you stay ill.

        That is something you need to remember. You _want_ to help. You are _not_ against her. But _she_ has rejected _you_ no matter how that has been twisted in her brain. You can’t help how she is reading the situation. All you can do is know your own motives and understand what you are going through. Unfortunately, her mind may never see it the same way, but that is the nature of the illness.

        And as for feeling sad, that’s normal. That’s understandable. You’re going through a loss and sadness is part of grieving that loss. I don’t know if it will help you, but understand that it does get better. Grieving doesn’t last forever even though sometimes it feels like it will. Your loss is real. Take the time to feel sad, and mad, and any other feeling you might have about it. Take care of you.

        You’ve been through something very difficult, and indeed, it isn’t over, but you’re doing the best you can for all parties involved and that is the best you can do.

        – Natasha Tracy

        • Thanks to both of you for your continued support. We’re 24 hrs away from the ordeal and already I’m feeling more guilt, or perhaps is the feeling of “caving in”. LIke maybe I should reach out to her, maybe if we try just one more time. But then I remind myself what transpired yesterday, how she refused us. How our constant yo-yo caving in allowed her behavior to get worse and affect us. I just really need people to tell me the truth as to whether we did the right thing.

          • Hi Nancy,
            Take it from me, a bipolar patient, who has been exactly where your sister is now that you are doing the right thing.
            To try and reach out to her now would only enable her to continue her bad behavior. By walking away from her abuse you are showing her that in order to have a relationship with the family she has to get the help that she needs.
            It took me a few times until I finally gave in and went on meds. Now I live a good life and of course I have my off days, but for the most part I am under good control and I am able to be around my family who love me very much.
            Please hang in there. If you want to help her then know that your really are doing the best thing for her. You’re not doing anything wrong. In fact you are doing everything right by your family.
            Sincerely,
            Patricia

          • Hi Nancy,

            Thanks for letting us know how it’s going. I think it’s completely reasonable to feel guilty, but you do have to remember that what you did was the best for everyone. I understand the lure of “one last time” but you have to use your logical self to fight those thoughts. You _know_ you couldn’t go “one last time” as there had been so _many_ “last times.”

            You did the right thing.

            I’ve written a new post on this subject and it will be up later today.

            – Natasha Tracy

      • Nancy — I wish I could soften the pain you are most likely still experiencing. Ain’t that special magistrate a real joke ? From what you wrote, he really wasn’t all with it now was he ? Why is he not asked to take some medication ? What type of person does that ? Isn’t this sort of abusive to the people that are begging to help their loved one ? I am so sorry that your situation is full of so many roadblocks. To me, this is what I find to be TRULY insane — the system, the lack of medical options and of course the individual who may be too impaired to reach for help. I hope some patch of peace will find its way to your heart soon.

  140. Hello, just wanted to say I am there. I have too children with a biopolar and possibly split personality or somethings else. He has been in a phycosis for two weeks and my three yr old is telling me he told her she’s going to die when firworks come. I care for him and hate what he puts himself through and me and our children but I know now I have to be done. We have been aplit up for two years and it still cobsumes my brain and my whole life I am honestly scared and not sure what do to do except hope he gets help or just does away I am done worry caring and so forth we deserve a better life . I hope the best and I am angry but yet still have some sort of compassion andlove for I’m drives me nuts my children come first wish me luck

    • Hi Crystal,

      Thanks for saying you’re out there. I know that’s a hard thing to say and a harder position in which to be.

      I wish you goodness and my thoughts are with you.

      – Natasha Tracy

    • I’m not sure who is the one that is in psychosis, your child? Or a parent.. If this person is making threats, you could alert authorities, they can do patrols. Mobile crisis, well that is iffy, sounds like you have been through alot, protect yourself,doesn’t hurt to talk to someone, good luck in what ever you decide..

  141. Hi all,

    I’ve been offline for a couple of days and so I haven’t taken an active role in the developing conversation. As always, I’m happy to see people discussing issues here and divergent views are always welcome.

    I will say though that there is a bit of an unfortunate turn here where commenters are attacking other commenters and that is not something I’m a fan of. I can understand if you dislike an other person but you need to deal with that elsewhere.

    From now on, please respond to the person’s ideas and not comment on the person. I’ll be moderating more aggressively for that on this thread from now on.

    Thanks for your cooperation in this. I know how passionate we all can be on some subjects.

    – Natasha Tracy

  142. Hey, so I was a little surprised when I read your article about saying goodbye to someone with mental illness. But then I read the full article, and it must be said that it was the last paragraph that made a lot of sense.

    I’ve been suffering from mental illness for a large portion of my life – roughly 10 years of my 24 years has been consumed by it. I have tried to get help, and yeah sometimes it made the world of difference. Like when I was a teenager, I experienced problems with food and was hospitalised for a short time as a last ditch attempt to help me get rid of the habit. But it didn’t work. What did work was actually my close family relationships. We went on a family holiday to my parent’s second home in the Highlands of Scotland. One evening, my family had worked together to make the dinner (homemade fish and chips). I refused to eat it, so they sent me home alone. Please note that by this stage, I was old enough to live by myself at 16. My parents highlighted to me that letting this behaviour continue whilst my sister was about was unacceptable considering she was quite a bit younger than me. She was 10, and hated seeing me like that. They also threatened to send me back to live with my biological mother (which I know now was an empty threat). So what I’m saying is, your point is perfectly valid in your situation, and more than likely in many other people’s. But not mine.

    I admit I have issues getting through each and every day. I’ve tried, I’ve cried and so have my family. I guess the reason I read this was because I was curous.

    The last few months have been really bad, and I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel because no matter how hard my family, myself and my community carers try to help, it doesn’t stick. I can’t fight anymore. So maybe you’re right, maybe my family should distance themselves in order to protect themselves, and also to allow me to not feel the need/want to be here. But I don’t see my dad or my step-mum ever doing that.

    • Elenor, may I ask, when you feel you are affecting your family adversely, do you ever think you would feel easier in yourself if there was distance between you? Or, is it just me?! I don’t feel that way for the most part because I know my kids rely on me a lot for support, and they have had a lot of it (to my emotional cost). more than most of the kids in their school in how I have fought their corner and got them the special consideration they should have had earlier because they are dyslexic and dyspraxic, etc; but there are also times when it is obvious that I hold them back, too.

      • Hi Harryf200,

        Now, I do not have kids, but I have thoughts nonetheless.

        I think parents always help and hurt kids in an attempt to parent them – because no one is perfect and parents are human. I don’t think you should beat yourself up for that. I think the only thing to do is to try to lessen the harm and increase the help as best we can and hope our partner can step in and help when we get off track. Sometimes it can seem like the hurt is winning, but I believe that is something people can work on if that is what they want. Being a good parent is very hard, but it’s a skill and you can get better at dealing with it and your mental illness.

        And you said it yourself, you have stood in their corner and fought for them, and that is worth a lot, so don’t cut yourself short.

        – Natasha Tracy

    • Eleanor, unless I am mistaken, your post sounds like you are very depressed. Hey, after I read some of the posts on here, I can see why you might feel a little depressed. However, I try and realize that some people see things differently. Notice the word “try.” You wrote that you “don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.” My guess is that you have before though right ? Maybe the light is right around the next corner, maybe the light will take another five years to appear, yet if you saw the light once, you may see it again right ? Now for those that want to sound pessimistic, maybe the light is never going to appear or maybe the light is a figment of your imagination or maybe there is no such thing as a light. See, that sounds awful if you ask me !!! I like to promote others to “try” just “try” and be willing to find some light. Maybe the light is inside you and you are looking for it outside of you. Maybe you might benefit from a long walk, a medication adjustment, some friendly counseling, or simply a funny movie. When I forget to look at the light inside of me, I feel dependent on finding it from outside of me. So, I was wondering if would you be willing to try to find some light right now ? Just for today – even if only while you read this. Tomorrow you can take a break from trying and go back to not trying if you like, yet, just for today will you try ? All this request is asking of you (I think) is that you look for a little light — a flicker of light counts. I wish I had the magic words or remedy to help you feel better. Right now, I am using a little “light” talk and hope it helps some. Feeling depressed is uncomfortable (to put it mildly) for those who suffer from the challenges of a mood disorder or a chemical imbalance, so I wish you a better day soon.

    • Hi Eleanor,

      I’m sorry you’re going through such a hard time. But let me be clear, going through a hard time is very different than the situation I was talking about – where a person is abusive towards others. It’s when the person with the mental illness actively hurts you that I believe it’s time to consider distance, _not_ simply because the person is sick. You are sick. You haven’t found a successful treatment. That doesn’t mean people should abandon you, and as you said, people haven’t.

      But please know that help for you and your family is out there. There is still time and there are still things to try. I know it can feel hopeless at time, but I’ve never met anyone who has tried _everything_. This is mostly because there is an almost infinite list of things to try. I can understand feeling tired and hopeless. I have felt that way. But time is not up. This is not the end. There is more to the story.

      Please read this: http://natashatracy.com/mental-illness/depression/continue-fight-pain-depression/

      I hope that helps. My thoughts are with you.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • Hey to all who have replied. I think you are all correct in your points of view/statements/advice. I guess I got mixed up in what’s happening in my head right now, and misunderstood what the message was… for that, I apologise.

        Over here in Scotland, we have these really nice people called Community Psychiatric Nurses. The way it was once explained to me by mine was: “I can’t help you if I can’t trust you not to call when you’re feeling bad.” Now I realise a lot of you might think that was a risky thing to say to someone struggling a bit. But it wasn’t, probably because myself and her get on really well, and have some common interests. Perhaps she wouldn’t have said such a thing if she’d thought otherwise? They are called Community Psychiatric Nurses for a reason – to keep their patients in the community.

        I haven’t looked at this site since I posted that comment because I was a little worried what people might say, but really there was no reason to be.

        Today has been a really funny day. Went to a friend of a friend’s to help her with a uni project about social anxiety. This person who I’d never met before noticed me squirming and asked if I was okay. She put some strawberries in front of me, along with a coffee. Basically trying to make me feel at ease. She kept asking me if I was okay, each time, my reply was yes. Until it was time to think about my first occupational therapy appointment shortly after that.

        Out of nowhere, she pretty much said “I know how you feel” because she has been here before. I’ve never met anyone who shares so much of the same experiences as me. She is living proof of the fact that it may not be this bad all the time. Everyone always says “It’ll be alright”… “pull yourself together”… I never really listen to these kinds of comments because I truely believe that they don’t know this. Although, it is nice to be nice :) But I believed this girl, who was a complete stranger. So, I suppose my message is, sometimes it might be a good idea to have some level of distance between a loved one who is mentally ill. But maybe try to come to some sort of agreement that it won’t be a permanent measure. Then again, each and every situation is different, as is each and every person.

        I hope I didn’t upset anyone, because after all, there is nothing wrong with a little self presevation when desperation is an issue.

        • Hi Eleanor,

          It’s OK to be mixed up and it’s OK to comment when mixed up. Sometimes that can help, um, un-mix things :)

          Thanks for your comment, I’m sure people are glad you’re feeling a bit better and have your head on a bit straighter. It’s easy to get confused with a disease that talks so loudly to you.

          I’m glad you’re working with a community nurse – I have heard good things about them and if you have a good relationship with yours, then all the better.

          Again, that’s for the update.

          – Natasha Tracy

  143. I’ve been here…in my personal life, and in my career.

    In my personal life, there have been times when I’ve had to accept that I’ve done everything that I can for a person and that, for the good of my own health, I have to walk away.

    In my professional life it’s come down to respecting peoples’ right to make a bad decision. That’s even more heart-breaking in some ways because I’m still ready to go with “Let’s do this! I can set this up for you, you can still try this…” but the person simply doesn’t want to. And it’s never been my right, in the jobs I’ve done, to make that decision for people.

    Neither situation gets any easier each time I’ve had to deal with it. But sometimes, as you said, there aren’t any other options.:(

    • Note that in a professional situation I would not abandon the person. I work with people with intellectual disabilities, but I’m not a mental health professional. I’d continue to work with them to whatever extent that I could, but there would have to be an understanding that when it came to some issues, I couldn’t provide support, because I’m not qualified to do so. But if their mental condition causes such distress for them that they can’t work with me, then that *does* become an issue that needs to be addressed…

    • Hi GirlWithTheCane,

      I hadn’t considered professional issues like yours, but then I’ve never worked in a position like yours. The fact is though, there are many aspects of our life when we “run out of help” to offer others. And it’s never fun, but sometimes it’s a fact.

      – Natasha Tracy

  144. Please note – I would condemn anyone that said euthanization is the answer — that comment was made for shock value and to let others know that the mentally ill are everywhere and we cannot just throw them away.

    • I come to this site for several reasons. Most importantly for the relevance and timeliness of the subject matter, the author’s forthright openness to share her most intimate of personal experiences and certainly the quality of her writings to convey her thoughts and that very same intimacy. I also believe those qualities shared by the author are reasons for others to be drawn in and to similarly share their thoughts and to gain a better understanding from Natasha and others of their own personal challenges.

      Having spent almost 5 decades in one of my many roles and that as a support person and caregiver to my spouse; I to come to this forum to continue my education while also learning and gaining an understanding from others as they too share their intimacies and years of experience.

      Every now and then one comes along attempting to share what in my opinion amounts platitudes, babble and worse yet “shock value” absent of the intimacies, relevant details and sincere sense of writings one notes from the other participants.

      I applaud the patience of Natasha and others to not necessarily call out those individuals for their babble and irrelevance pertaining to the subject matter at hand i.e. “euthanization” but in this instance I think it’s gone too far and I question the purpose and maturity of the individual.

      As an aside, I was for a number of years a Board Member, President and facilitator of a local chapter of DBSA (Depression Bipolar Support Alliance). As is Natasha’s nature to discuss any and all relevant subject matter so too were our group discussions. One evening one of the woman in the group turned and asked me, “If your wife had died would you consider dating any of the women in the group?” knowing that my spouse had recently attempted suicide.

      I took a deep lengthy breath and gathered my composure knowing the individual and the fact the question was sincere and not meant to be hurtful.

      I responded. “As long as you all accept the rules of our meeting that we each speak from our own personal experiences and that we use the first person singular, ‘I’ and not ‘you’ and that one accepts that these are my personal feelings and thoughts that I would then respond.”

      All agreed to hear me out.

      “Not that I can’t be friends with anyone in the group and I am personal friends with a number of the individuals and knowing that which I do today and having the experiences that both our daughter and I endured these many years I could never knowingly in a million years enter into a serious relationship with anyone exhibiting serious mood disorders or behavioral issues.

      No platitudes, lectures or need for euthanasia; only my many years of experiences and knowledge which was also acquired from those who are challenged by these horrific illnesses and that it is also acceptable to set boundaries and limitations and to think of one’s own wellness and happiness as not being selfish, cruel or irresponsible.

      As always I wish you all wellness and all the good you’d wish for yourselves.

      Warmly,
      Herb
      vnsdepression@gmail.com
      http://www.vnstherapy-herb.blogspot.com

      • Hi Herb:

        So glad you decided to chime in and let us know you have a blog (is that really necessary to share and do you have any financial investment in any of those products you are promoting on said blog) ? Assuming Natasha has this page for people to speak about their experience(s) with the mentally ill, then I’m not sure why you would question my “maturity.” My comments, to YOU, may seem like babble, yet why would you say that ? Are my comments simply bothersome to you or was I speaking some foreign language you couldn’t understand ? Most people have boundaries – isn’t that elementary ? Hey, as one person, I cannot care for the millions of mentally ill human beings so who will ? People that are dangerous are usually put in some sort of facility whether it be a hospital or jail. Now with more and more and more cuts into state funding for mental health many of the people that are mentally ill are put in jail. So, for those of you that love to cuddle up on the couch to watch some television while realizing that perhaps your son or daughter are in prison because they couldn’t access medical attention, well enjoy your television show. My reason for using shock is to wake people up to what they are saying if they promote others to say “goodbye” to people. Is it like a bon voyage type “goodbye” or is it more like the I need to get away from this person “goodbye?” To me, it seems like complete common sense to want to look after one’s own wellness and happiness. The mentally ill may not have ANY sense much less “common” sense. Many of the posts on here are sad to read yes ? So please try to understand that my choice to shock people is to let them know that this subject matter is very serious. Psychiatric science is very difficult for the “AVERAGE” person to grasp. It’s nice to know that at one time you were interested in helping those people that experienced either mental illness themselves or had mentally ill people in their lives. Hey, you were even a Board Member, President and facilitator of a local chapter of DBSA (Depression Bipolar Support Alliance)….I wonder whether the rest of us should chime in with or credentials or lack thereof. Any forensic psychiatrists on this page ? Assuming you were involved with the DBSA, you would know then that it is normal for the non-mentally ill people to wish the mentally ill person in their lives were dead. That doesn’t mean they WANT them dead, yet when the pain gets to intense and the person feels there is no hope in sight for someone to get WELL (which is what they TRULY want right – I hope), then sometimes it is understandable that death would run through that person’s mind. This is something that many grief counselors talk about with people with loved ones with a terminal illness. Sometimes the loved ones can’t take it anymore, they want to be out of their own misery. Watching someone else suffering from a medical condition isn’t for the weak. So each individual chooses whether to stay or to go. Choices are, in my opinion, what Natasha is promoting on her page. I just happen to feel (it’s only MY feeling) that it is slanted to promoting people to say goodbye versus supporting people in the event that is what they decide. And again, remember that those that are ABLE to choose anything, have a precious gift that many of the mentally ill do not — the gift of having the ABILITY to think rationally. My heart breaks for every person that has chosen to walk away. I will assume the pain was just unbearable. I am truly thankful for all the medical providers, community activists, and other organizations (and individuals) that try and help the mentally ill. Mental illness is about a medical condition, not rotten choices. Don’t take it from me, some person writing on Natasha’s page, just ask Google or even better, take up the study of psychiatry.

        • You say, “Watching someone else suffering from a medical condition isn’t for the weak. So each individual chooses whether to stay or to go. ” I agree watching suffering isn’t for the weak but I repeat my earlier point: If the case is ‘staying will harm me (mentally or physically) but leaving will keep me safe’ THAT isn’t “a choice” – that is leaving out of necessity.

          I would also point out that one cannot assume that mentally ill people who are dangerous to others or themselves will be removed by the authorities to a place of safety because they will not intervene without evidence of risk and for that they will need more than just the carer saying “I’m certain he is going to hurt me.” Rather, what usually happens is that a crisis has to have *already* occured before they do anything, when it may be too late for the carer or for them, or both. So, the only thing left for a carer to do in such circumstances -is get out before the crisis happens because, like as not, no one’s going to do anything until the danger has manifested itself to the *satisfaction* of the authorities.

          • Harryf200: Hey – what I don’t get here is that you say that leaving out of necessity isn’t a choice. There have been people who have walked into a burning building, BY CHOICE, to simply save a dog. Some people have given their own lives to save others BY CHOICE (ex. soldiers). THAT IS NOT WHAT I AM ADVOCATING. After reading more about Natasha, I truly want to believe that this “goodbye” article is not promoting people to say goodbye yet, as mentioned before to Natasha, I simply dislike her way of presenting the topic. That does NOT make me right. The “authorities” are often disgusting, downright deplorable (not all). However, I believe Natasha wants to hear from people, anyone, that has or is involved with people with a medical condition. The words MENTAL ILLNESS usually connotates additional stigma to the public – ain’t that sweet ? This page, to me, speaks out to the individuals that have SEVERELY problematic people in their lives who just happened to have been diagnosed as having a mental illness. NOT EVERYONE WITH A MEDICAL CONDITION aka MENTAL ILLNESS ARE PROBLEMATIC to the EXTREME that many people are commenting on here. I read somewhere that Natasha is bipolar (I sincerely apologize if this is completely untrue). Is she a huge problem ? Shall we all run away now and say “goodbye” to Natasha ?

        • I’d agree that the fireman who goes into a burning building is making a choice, which is based on his assessment of the risk – i.e. does he think he can rescue the dog and get out alive. That is quite different from the situation of living with someone who has a mental illness. (By the way, I speak from BOTH sides, having one had a seriously manic-depressive girlfriend, which was BEFORE I had my own diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder.) The fireman would not have had a choice if the building was falling down around him, if it was obvious to him that he’d die if he stayed in it another minute. Fleeing for your life isn’t a choice, unless one is into masochism or suicide! If the fireman had a choice he would save the dog in spite of the risk, or decide against if he felt the risk was too great; but if his life was in imminment danger, he would flee for his life. Right? If a car is driving at you at high speed you do not choose to jump out of the way to save yourself, you do it to stay alive … assuming you want to stay alive.

          I am not feeling so harsh about the authorities as you, I suspect. I understand why they would not act to forcibly commit someone to hospital just because a carer says, “This person is dangerous.” They would want evidence that the person genuinely posed the risk being claimed, and rightly so, or we could all have our spouses commited into secure units when it suited us for them to be out of the way … and that is exactly what used to happen before laws were passed to safeguard the rights of freedom for people with a mental illness who do not truly pose a threat. But the problem is that they cannot see all the evidence if there is no corroborating expert witness, and that often doesn’t arise until the cops are called.

          But the risks posed are not just physical. They are also mental. I broke up with my girlfriend because her condition was so disturbing for me (probably because I was Bipolar, too – indeed, I recall seeing things in her behaviour that I recognised in myself) that I found my own mental health deteriorating rapidly. I did not want to break up with her, but I had *no choice*. It was a case of “break up or break down*! Others may be like my ex-fiance, who realised that my condition would hold her back from living a full life. You might argue that she chose to walk away from me; I would argue she had no choice because everyone has a right to live a full life, perhaps even an obligation to live one , and there was no way she would have done if she had stayed with me. (I am now married but my wife and I agree, our way for a reasonable marriage is to live apart for half the year!) Now, I say that as one who is not considered to be Bipolar Type 1, but Type 2 – in other words, I might not be considered to be “SEVERELY problematic”. But I would argue that people like me *are* problematic, and severely so, *in the long term* because attrition that even *mild* Bipolar Disorder invokes is just as damaging to a relationship in the long run as a full blown Type 1 episode can be in the short-term. Put it this way: If I were not Bipolar but as fully cognisant as I am about the disorder as I am now I would not become involved with someone who is Bipolar!

          • I have kept myself fully informed about the laws surrounding the mentally ill, especially in Texas. I feel Harris County is barbaric – if you Google Texas and the mentally ill, you will hopefully be rather disgusted that the majority of the mentally ill are housed in the county jail. Some write that the Harris County Jail is one of the largest mentally ill facilities. Texas has slashed their budgets and one of the items on it was funding for the community members that need medical help. Hospital closures abound and their simply is not enough beds for people needing care. As you may know, beds are usually reserved for the really severe cases. Even funding for outpatient services has decreased – we are talking about a lot of money. Harryf200, you mentioned you are bipolar. Many people are bipolar that are NOT severely problematic so only you (or those around you particularly medical healthcare workers) can make that judgment yes ? And, I sincerely hope that people are involved with you as a person. You are not defined by your disorder are you ? I’ve read where many people wonder where their personality stops and where their disorder steps in. Some people wouldn’t want to become involved with someone with bipolar disorder yet not all right ? Many people divulge their medical condition to their friends or whomever, yet it really is not anyone’s business to know unless you want them to. Is shame a fun feeling or severe judgment any fun ? Mentally ill people are often stigmatized. Listen to these words: psycho, crazy, insane, whacked, bipolar, schizo, off, weird, inappropriate, messed up, etc. These words are common place yes ? So, when a person has been told they have a medical condition, in this case a mental illness, many in our society want to judge and shame. Are you ashamed of your medical condition ? You didn’t cause it ? In my opinion, you are a person just like everyone else. I know people without a medical diagnosis that are highly problematic, cruel, insensitive, ignorant and/or downright mean. And you know what, I am a hypocrite if I say I have not occasionally been this way. Thankfully, I realize these are not traits I have on a daily basis although Herb might think so (sorry Herb, couldn’t resist jabbing you). Have you ever been around someone with Tourettes ? Sometimes their behavior is disturbing to others. Have you ever seen someone in a wheelchair drooling ? Sometimes their behavior is disturbing to others. Everyone, even without a medical condition, has something about themselves that is disturbing to other people. Shoot, I think bad breath is disturbing, including my own !!! HAHAHA, yet it’s part of the human condition yes ?
            I heard someone tell a bipolar person, “embrace your medical condition, make friends with it – once you can others may too.” Wow, that made a difference in that person’s thinking. Bipolar people are NOT all problematic, and many who are don’t stay that way. Sadly, some cannot access help or are simply unable to know that’s what they need.
            Hey, thanks for commenting on Herb’s post. Poor guy – he does like to use the words “respectively” and “warmly” a lot eh ? Herb’s posts include his email and his blog – just so everyone knows, Google’s information says this VNS therapy costs about $25,000. Everyone line up now to pay for this – I mean, that’s cheap right ? — N*O*T. I know an individual that had a VNS unit implanted in his chest. He was desperate as was his family. Didn’t work. Maybe it does for others – they are simply out of $25,000 (or their insurance company is — this is usually considered an experimental treatment so many companies refuse to pay for this — no surprise eh ? $25,000)

          • Betsy, I have no need for counsel because I have no problem with being open about being Bipolar: I am not ashamed of it. I wouldn’t say I am defined by Bipolar but I am Bipolar and quite happy to be called *a* Bipolar. Indeed, I am *a* Bipolar survivor, and that’s something to cheer about because it’s killed many others. So, I have no more desire to embrace Bipolar than to hug Charles Albright or Paul Durousseau. Bipolar is not a friend – it is the enemy and you have to be ever watchful of it, to try and keep every door and window closed against it. (I bet the person you heard tell the someone to embrace their Bipolar wasn’t Bipolar themselves.)

            There is no escaping that being Bipolar does changes things, has implications. However much we may wish otherwise, life is changed by our having Bipolar and changed again by the diagnosis. (Why, I found just yesterday it’s damn-near impossible to get travel insurance because I’m Bipolar! I am now restricted to a limited period driving license because of the Bipolar – I have to re-apply every 3 years and get reports from my psychiatric consultant to prove I’m fit to drive. And then there’s the prejudice of employers …etc.)

            But life is also changed for the better, to some extent, because the diagnosis frees us from self-doubt and a poor self image; it does this because we discover that our inappropriate emotional behaviour isn’t some flaw in our characters but an abberation caused by the Bipolar. It’s not our fault! But there is me and there is the Bipolar. I am still me! But the Bipolar sometimes bites me, sometimes gets inside my soul and changes how I see the World and how I react to it. And sometimes it changes me into an ugly person with a flareing temper, and once with murderous intent. (I set out looking for a bad guy, any bad guy, and I do him! Couldn’t fine one! Fortunately for me, the mood wore off by the end of the day and it’s never come back like that since … but it could … There is no altering that.

            Of course, there’s the therapy, the drugs and there are many things we can do to reduce the probability of triggering a mood swing, like trying to keep a regular routine. As I said, it’s about keeping the doors and windows shut, not letting it in with a warm embrace. There is no escaping the Bipolar because it is a sleeping dragon that lets you think you are in control of it, but wakes up every now and then to remind you who is really the boss!

            It has had me on an emotional rollercoaster, with moods changing over months, over weeks, sometimes within a day, and even within an hour, swinging from excited abundant energy and passionate enthusiasm into an amazing dull feeling of detatchment and unstoppable weeping. All of that still happens but (at present) not to the extremes of the poles as it did, but it happens. It is not just wearing on people as me but it also grinds down those we live with. When we are depressed we hide a way because we cannot handle trips out with them save for the routine ones and THAT impacts on our families, too. Day outings can be too much to bear thinking about and holidays … forget it. (I am soon to go on holiday with my family for the first time in 12 years.) THAT is very wearing on families. And then there are the emotional feelings toward partners – we blow hot and cold with them, sometimes feeling indifferent and, at others, passionate in our affection and love: Now, that is a killer of relationships! Who would willingly enter a relationship like that? You see, I’m not a Type 1 manic depressive, just a “Type 2” but anyone can see, what I describe, which I think you’ll find is not untypical for someone who is Bipolar, all that IS problematic. It’s a bitch and there is no avoiding it.

            So, would I get involved with someone like me? No way, Jose! As I just said, Bipolar is problematic however “mild” or severe. (Not that BP is ever truly mild – I understand those diagnosed with the “milder” BP Type 2 are actually more at risk of suicide than those who are Type 1. I woudn’t call that ‘mild’! Does your research confirm this, Natasha?) If I didn’t already have a wife all I would seek would be friendships at a distance, not a live in relationship, and I would certainly not have childen. I adore my kids I have but feel bad, *not* guilty, that they will have inherited some of my genes, very likely some of the bad ones, and they too, or their off-spring, will develop this illness at some point in the future. There is nothing I can do about that except, of course, making sure they are aware of what is Bipolar and that they should look out for it sneaking up on them.

            So, all in all, I have come to feel comfortable with the diagnosis, that I am *a* Bipolar. (Indeed, when someone in humour and without knowledge of my condition, says “You’re nuts” I usually reply, “Yes, and I have a psychiatrist to prove it!” The Bipolar doesn’t change who I am but it changes what I can do, and I live with that as best I can just as someone who is diabetic must live with constraints on their life, too. (Oh yeah – I’m diabetic, too, partly ‘thanks’ to some of the drugs I had to take in the early days of the Bipolar treatment and a poor lifestyle due to the depressions.)

            What I am NOT happy about is that there is no escaping the symptoms. The Lamotrigine squeezes in the poles of the moods but it doesn’t actually stop the moods from changing. So, I will always have hypomanic days and depressed ones – they will not necessarily cripple me as they have in the past but they’ll still happen – I can still well up in tears at the most inappropriate moments for no good reason except that my emotions are raw. The moods, like the tides, will always go in and out, and neither King Canute nor Dr Leonard McCoy can change that! I accept it but I still don’t like it, I still don’t like that this cycle will never change without some miracle cure for Bipolar, which seems unlikely in my life-time! But that, as they say, is Life – at least, it’s mine and I’m pretty sure it’s a lot like thousands of other Bipolar Survivors like me.

        • Dear Betsy,

          Yes, I have a blog. It’s purpose is to educate and share my experiences, research and accumulated knowledge from the standpoint of a lay-person to anyone having interest and/or questions as it relation to particular alternative treatment option. Its importance may be meaningless to you but to someone desperately suffering severe depression it might offer a ray of hope.

          Not only do I not have any financial interest in the product or company, I do not promote or endorse any products or companies or accept any advertising on my blog and the former website I maintained for many years pertaining to the same treatment option. Furthermore, my closing salutation is used to clearly identify me as opposed to the trolls who attempted to impersonate me as they followed me about the Internet and give interested parties a means to contact me.

          “Assuming Natasha has this page for people to speak about their experience(s) with the mentally ill, then I’m not sure why you would question my “maturity.” — Betsy

          So exactly when do “you” speak of “your” experiences? You have done nothing more than to continue expounding platitudes, add additional questions without the courtesy similarly responding. At what point do you speak from the first person singular? Exactly to what extent, length of time and involvement are your personal experiences with those challenged with mental health issues?

          The little I’ve learned is that you’re not a parent. You “had a friend who asked me to try and help her sister, who then killed herself.” So I’ll commend you for your caring and involvement with your friend’s family. Did you take this girl in to live with you? Just how many months or years did you devote to helping this girl and exactly what did you do for her? I’m truly sorry that you have had an affiliation with a successful suicide. I know it is traumatizing to the surviving loved ones whether successful or not. I’ve also learned that you had been “beaten by a person with a mental illness.” I’ll presume you are referring to physical abuse in your case.

          Is that any different than being beaten by a family member or stranger? I’m truly sorry to read about what obviously had been a painful experience to you. Just how long did you have to endure the pain?

          It is you who wrote of “credentials”, not I. I would once again simply like, in your case, a better understanding of your educational background and personal experiences in mental health (patient, caregiver, psychiatric professional, etc.) and length of time so that I can better fathom your writings. Your sole purpose is to attempt shock has for me been miserable failure and disgust. Maybe your advocacy is better placed elsewhere with those less knowledgeable, involved or experienced in mental health issues and unable to challenge your remarks.

          “I truly want to believe that this “goodbye” article is not promoting people to say goodbye yet, as mentioned before to Natasha, I simply dislike her way of presenting the topic.” — Betsy

          Image how I feel if you dislike her way of presenting. I find your writings and thoughts to be discombobulated, unproductive, misdirected and condescending of me. The commenters to Natasha’s blog and this topic have been in the trenches for some time from either side as it relates to mental health issues. Maybe you’ve missed that point. You’re preaching or opinions while you may think noble I feel strongly are further misdirected toward the wrong audience and once again I’ll reiterate that I do not believe Natasha was promoting anything. Note carefully her use of the first person singular unlike your writings. She and others have shared from their lengthy experiences what has and has not been best for each. Your comments to me represent nothing more than additional wasteful ramblings to the wrong audience.

          Unlike you I speak of my experiences and knowledge not those of “Most people” or “they”, etc. I don’t know “Most people” and I’d like to know who “they” are. Hopefully you’ll comprehend my point.

          “Psychiatric science is very difficult for the “AVERAGE” person to grasp.” — Betsy

          Psychiatric science is difficult for the medical professional (Psychiatry) to grasp as it tries to become a science while at the same time overcoming its own internal strife. So just what do all these superfluous asides have to do with the topic? Is it you trying to impress me that you have some knowledge of “Psychiatric science”?

          “It’s nice to know that at one time you were interested in helping those people that experienced either mental illness themselves or had mentally ill people in their lives.” — Betsy

          What makes you assume I’ve stopped? You’ve read my posting and learned I have blog. Are you not able to reason the purpose?

          “So, for those of you that love to cuddle up on the couch to watch some television while realizing that perhaps your son or daughter are in prison because they couldn’t access medical attention, well enjoy your television show. My reason for using shock is to wake people up to what they are saying if they promote others to say “goodbye” to people.” — Betsy

          Nor do I know of anyone you categorize in the above statement commenting to this forum from what I’ve read. But then again, you may have far greater experiences with those of whom you speak. Shocking individuals who are already hurting and in pain and in some cases also having to make very, very difficult life decisions is a strange way you may have of lending help, aid and comfort that I don’t understand.

          “Assuming you were involved with the DBSA…” — Betsy.

          Why would you need to assume? I told you clearly my positions. You even repeated the details. So why do you now assume? As I’ve stated; you’re writing is disconnected, rambling and to an audience namely me, immature and condescending.

          Warmly,
          Herb
          vnsdepression@gmail.com
          http://www.vnstherapy-herb.blogspot.com

          • Thanks harryf200…you’d think by now the individual might comprehend that I find her writing style and unsubstantiated out-of-nowhere remarks the more problematical issue to this topic.

            Had the individual expressed or indicated herself significantly youthful I most likely would never have responded. She does obviate to me a kind and caring soul but addressing the folks who live in the trenches for the years they have and deriding the writing style of one of the few bloggers trying to maintain an opened and balanced perspective and reporting is a wow to me as well as her misreading of the contents of Natasha’s blog and my statements as well.

            There is no indication the individual is challenged as I would have probably backed-off sooner.

            Anyway, thank you…I appreciate your nudge as I thank you for your commentaries and sharing with me.

            I wish you and yours wellness and the good you’d wish for yourselves.

            Warmly,
            Herb
            vnsdepression@gmail.com
            http://www.vnstherapy-herb.blogspot.com

  145. Unless you have been directly involved with someone who has a mental illness it would be hard for anyone the pain we go through trying to help them.My husband who has bipolar and who is in an acute manic state,has once again refused to take his medication as he is not the ill one everyone else just doesn’t understand him.He has now taken himself back overseas to thailand where he has set up numerous businesses illegally one a brothel where he has asked his daughter who has 4 children to go and work for him as men would really go for her big boobs and red hair.He has also tried to get my daughter from a previous marriage involved.He has gone through large amounts of money and I am now forced to sell my home.The justice system here in australia has failed me and as he is part owner in the house I have no choice but to sell and give him his half and watch as he continues to put it into business ventures overseas which have no real positive outcome for him in the long run.He has lost 36kg in a short period of time had numerous accidents and is smoking and drinking himself to death.I am now just waiting for the call to say they have found him dead or in jail,and as I am being seen as the bad guy for trying to get him help continue to come up against brick walls.I am at the end of the line and my mental and physical health is starting to suffer as a result.So I say thank you to natasha for having the courage to speak out about this very complex illness.

    • Like many who have written here, I know what it is like to watch or be involved with the mentally ill. Natasha is one of thousands of people who write about the mentally ill. Many people do not understand that an antihistamine can set a person with a mental illness off……yes, an over the counter antihistamine !!!! Is that person “responsible” or “accountable” for becoming psychotic after taking something that seems so harmless ? Although I can relate to the pain, the crushing emotions dealing with people you love that are mentally ill, I cannot relate to anyone saying “goodbye.” When you are done with a soda pop, you throw the can in the garbage and say “goodbye.” If your son or daughter is ill with cancer, do you say “goodbye” ? Some people do. The pain for many people is simply too much for them to bear…..I would encourage anyone in pain to turn for help – many things in life are extremely painful to watch and/or experience. What are some of the things people do to heal when they have said “goodbye” ? Is it time for a celebration ? Did anyone celebrate when the Titanic went down ? I would think that a celebration would be in order when any person gets help whether it be for themselves or someone else. I am thankful that I am not CHAINED to anyone in my life. I am thankful that I know how to ask for help when I am sick or go to the doctor when my arm is broken, and I hope I never have to be given chemotherapy. If my friends and family said “goodbye” to me when I got sick, I would be in a lot of pain. I am glad I stumbled on Natasha’s page now — I’ve been able to write a lot about how I feel about those people that say “goodbye” to people they just don’t want to help anymore. When you get to the point where you have to choose between yourself or your loved one on who will live and who will die, that is a personal decision — it makes sense to me that most people would choose themselves — I am not a parent, so maybe ask them what they would choose — would they choose their child or themselves ? I hope I never forget the love I have for the mentally ill, even the ones not in my life. Every time I see a homeless person I feel humbled. But for the Grace of God, there go I……May our world work harder at getting people help, eliminating poverty, war, starvation and diseases. May everyone that reads my post understand that I choose not to say “goodbye” — I choose to do what I can, try my best, and realize I cannot help a person with mental illness by myself. Thankfully many people are involved with helping them. Hopefully new medications are on the horizon. May all the mentally ill people who have been told “goodbye” find peace and hopefully a warm place to sleep, may they reach for help one day and may the people who loved them at one time, remember them when they were well. Most of us came into this world innocent — most people do not ask to be sick. Perhaps those that say “goodbye” to a person with mental illness can ask for them to be euthanized. Wouldn’t that be more like the Titanic that sank ?

      • I think it is a mistake yo think anyone would nornally ‘choose’ to say goodbye. If it is a choice its Hobson Choice, Catch 22: That is to say one may reach a point that you HAVE to say good bye – Force Majeure. Indeed, having various websites for people and supporters of loved ones with Bipolar Disorder, I have come across people who HAVE had to say good bye to children because the behaviour of their off-spring amounted to the kind of abuse that, if it were done the other way about to a younger child, would put the parent into jail for “child abuse”!

        But there are situations when there IS a choice. I’ll tell you of one (of several) I know about. The lady, she hit a manic period. She wracked up debts, massive debts – something like $50,000, which she could not pay back – her husband had to find the money for it. He had her name taken off all their joint bank accounts or she would have emptied them all on fast cars and clothes most of which she never wore again outside of the stores she bought them. She became obsessed with sex and found not sufficient satisfaction from her husband – so she had multiple partners – men she would pick up in bars and even on one occasion a store keeper she came across by chance, persuading him to shut up shop and have her in the stock room. She moved out of her family home and into a series of places with a series of lovers! The insanity thus caused her behaviour to act in a monumentally irresonsible and dangerous way, as it also caused her to abandon her husband and her children. The relationship she had with them was lost because she had no time to spend with them because she was too busy in bed with men she’d just met! Understandably, their feelings for her fell away and vanished. By the time her manic period was over, and she was able to see the trail of destruction behind her, the debts, ruined friendships, loss of career, and especially the loss of trust and respect of her family, it was too late to rebuild the bridges that her Biopolar had smashed: Her family had moved away to a new town, where the embarrassing history of a mania-induced sluttish mother, was unknown. They became unable to forgive her for abandoning and embarrassing them, as well as fearing iit could all happen again. So, this time they rejected her, they wanted nothing more to do with her. And who could blame them? Who, save for a masochist, could put up with that?!

        • Thank you I have been trying to get through to my mother in law who knows first hand what i have been going through with my husband he has emptied all the accounts and run up massive debts which has forced the sale of our home.He has taken himself overseas and has had numerous relationships mostly with lady boys.He gives money and possessions away like there is no tomorrow and then accuses people of stealing them.He won’t come back to australia as he knows that the acute care mental health team will be waiting.He still contacts me to do things for him and send him money and doesn’t understand when I say no as I am legally still his wife and therefore suppose to look after him and keep him safe and well.I have tried every avenue to get him back on his medication but he refuses to take it saying he doesn’t have a problem and he just lives on alcohol and painkillers.I finally came to the conclusion that until he admits he has a problem and seeks medical help that for my own sanity and health I have to say goodbye,to allowing him to drag me down and mentally abuse me every time he was having a bad day and feeling neglected.

          • Good for you, Judy.

            I think it escapes some people that carers have a right to Life, too; they have a right to be cared for … not least to care from themselves. They have a right to live not to have to sacrfice their lives, not sacrifice them for hopelessness. Sure, I am sorry to have lost my fiance of 20 years ago, but she was right to draw the line on our relationship and move on with her life because she was stuck in the mud and briars of mine! She was going no where. I can now (since diagnosis and treatment) look back with love and satisfaction that she got out of our relationbship early enough, while she was still young enough, to (I hope) enjoy the best years of her then young life. She deserved better than I could have given her at that time. It would have been different now, but now is NOW, and if she’d waited this long she would have lost 20 years of living.

          • Hi Harryf200,

            Thanks so much for sharing your personal perspective. It must be very hard to have had a person walk away from you but it shows amazing strength and perspective on your part to be able to say that it was the right thing to do. You can see things from her perspective which it takes an amazing person to do.

            I just wanted to honour that and underscore how far you must have come. That sounds like amazing work on your part. Obviously, hurting a person isn’t the way anyone would want to come to this perspective, but at least you view the experience as something you can use to grow, which is all any of us can do.

            – Natasha Tracy

    • Hi Judy,

      It sounds to me like you’re in a really tough spot and you’re doing the only thing you can do for your sanity. Others may not understand but they have not had to live through what you have. And as they say, you can’t judge another until you walk in their shoes. And I can’t possibly judge you for the impossible situation you’re in and neither should others.

      I hope that you can work to get your life back. If you can help your husband in the process – if he is open to it – that would be ideal, but regardless, you deserve a life and you deserve happiness.

      – Natasha Tracy

  146. I get it. And those who have commented here with judgment for what Natasha has written, insinuating that she lacks compassion, either don’t have experience in having a committed relationship with someone who is truly and pathologically ill and broken, or they are still in the tossing waves of codependency and are too blind to see it.

    I’ve been married to someone for over a decade who I’ve finally come to realize is seriously pathological. For years I thought it was all my fault. For years I believed their version of reality, their distortion of it where it is always someone else’s fault and nobody just understands them. For years I’ve been sucked into endless drama, expected to take sides on endless ridiculous fights (like a bad reality TV show) and being told I’m a bad spouse when I would not want to. I’ve been endlessly demanded of and blamed. I’ve been criticized and compared to others constantly as a way to keep me in place. I’ve carried them like a child, emotionally, being their crutch, being the pack mule for all their projections, and whenever I have finally had the sight to be able to begin my trek away from that bondage they would pull out all kinds of unconscious mechanisms to suck me back in… everything from sudden warmth to guilt-tripping and more blaming to sexual seduction.

    It has taken me years to get to where I am now, and lots of therapy. Ironically, I’ve been to 9 therapists over the last 12 years to fix “my issues” -which I certainly have. But my spouse only really owns up to having some minor issues like anxiety and depression -and even that is somehow my fault for my lack of affirmation and my displeasure at how our kids and I have been abandoned and mistreated for long periods of time while they check out or get involved with other relationships or become addicted to a video game or something ridiculous like that.

    So, I get it. After years of believing that just waiting it out and being compassionate and helpful was what was required, I see how much damage I have allowed and even helped… not just for me but for our kids and even for my spouse. The worst thing you can do, in a situation like this one, is continue to help someone live in delusions. We will be divorced soon, and while I wonder about what will become of them, I am done carrying that load. It only brings more damage to do so.

    • Also, I want to add that there is a vast difference between someone with Alzheimers (a degenerative brain disease) and someone who is pathologically destructive. I believe Natasha is describing the latter… self-destructive tendencies, addictions, patterns of abuse, denial, patterns of blaming and seeking to use people as a crutch to continue their destructive lifestyle, etc.

      • Sadly, as Natasha has mentioned, some NOT ALL mentally ill people can be a destructive element in people’s lives. It sounds like perhaps you are struggling, as you wrote, with many of your own issues so it’s great to read you have sought professional help for at least the past 12 years. Would you say your lack of taking action for so long to get away from your husband is pathologically destructive to you or your children ? Some people in society may say so. I choose to believe that you were hopeful at first, then in denial, then did not take action, and then waited until it got so bad for you that you decided to leave. I admire your desire to want things to change so bad that you stuck it out.

        Did your husband forget to take his medication ? Did you try to get him involuntarily committed ? From what you wrote, it sounds like you were not dealing with a person with a severe mental illness as you wrote your husband was “seriously pathological.” Was that his diagnosis ? You wrote: “self-destructive tendencies, addictions, patterns of abuse, denial, patterns of blaming and seeking to use people as a crutch to continue their destructive lifestyle.” Do you think mentally ill people WANT to be mentally ill ? I choose to say NO, they don’t. I didn’t read where you spoke of schizophrenia, anorexia / bulimia, schizoaffective disorder or bipolar disorder, yet you did mention Alzheimers as a degenerative brain disease. Do you think that mental illness has to do with a disease of the brain or just bad choices ? Many people with Alzheimers refuse treatment, become physically combative and have to be restrained. Society, thankfully, sees the need to help these people.

        I want to believe that Natasha is reminding people that sticking around and being abused by anyone, not just someone with a mental illness, is a choice. People who stick around to look after an individual after a stroke are seen as caring, yet people who desperately try and get help for a loved one with mental illness are seen as how ? Perhaps Natasha realizes that some people, like herself, simply cannot take it anymore, and yet the person with the mental illness is stuck to deal with it SOMEHOW on their own. I am fortunate to live on a planet where SOME people think it is important to help the disabled even when it ain’t easy. I do not know if I can care for my mother if she becomes old and needs medical care, yet I do not see myself saying “goodbye” to her – I may need to visit her in a nursing home though.

        Natasha sounds, although I cannot speak for her, like she is worn out and simply can’t keep going and wants to get others to agree with her to just say “goodbye.” Why is the article by Natasha not including the insanity of the mental health system ? You want to talk about insane, the mental health system run by sane people is insane. Yet, that’s Natasha’s choice, and just because I don’t like what she wrote doesn’t mean I am right.

        I feel that removal of a dangerous person from society, whether because they are just a no good loser or mentally ill, is a reasonable thing to ask of a sane society. Yet notice the word DANGEROUS. You do know that these people that need to be removed or said “goodbye” to are possibly going to be homeless or in jail right ? So, even though that may be just how it goes, do you understand the lack of medical care in jail or the COST of housing these people that have been said “goodbye” to ? Is jailing a mentally ill person HUMANE ?

        I want to include the following quote I found online by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey: “Approximately 50 percent of individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, including those who have never been treated, have impaired awareness of their own illness. This is a clinical symptom called ANOSOGNOSIA that has been shown in at least 50 different studies. Such individuals do not realize that they are sick, and they will, therefore, usually not accept treatment voluntarily. Studies suggest that this impaired awareness is probably related to the decreased function of the prefrontal area. These individuals are thus similar to some patients who have had a stroke and, because of brain damage, are unaware of their disability and deny it. The lack of awareness of illness in individuals with schizophrenia and manic-depressive disorder is the most common reason that they do not take their medication.” After reading that, do you believe that all mentally ill people are simply making a “choice” to be unaware ?

        Thankfully, Natasha addresses the frustration of people who used to want to help someone with a mental illness, yet I feel that her article almost encourages people to bail. Just because I “feel” that way doesn’t make it so. If that was not your intent Natasha, then I apologize for writing in a scolding tone of voice. Again, it is nice to read that YOU (Anonymous person of June 22) are taking steps to take care of yourself. Not everyone has the mental functioning power to choose. Be thankful it’s not YOU.

        I really need to get a better social life – did you notice I wrote this on a Saturday night ?

        • Betsy,

          It wasn’t that I looked for an excuse to bail. But after living with someone who refused to admit he needed help, refused to take his medications, refused to take responsibility for what he was ABLE to do & had an entitlement attitude (“You’re SUPPOSED to take care of me,” my brother told me once. “You’re my sister & that’s your job – to take care of your family.” He said this as I dodged his fists while protecting our Mom from getting hit) & knowing that he’d NEVER change, for my own mental health’s sake, I had to cut all ties to him. If I had stayed as my Mom & brother wanted, I never would have graduated from college, got married, raised a daughter, or had any kind of a life for myself — it would have been & always will be about HIM. Not to mention what if I had dealt with my cancer while taking care of my brother? He’d never get the “caregiver” concept. I’d be throwing up with my head in the toilet after burning my esophagus in radiation & my brother would have been yelling to stop that & go cook his supper! No, he didn’t ask to be mentally ill, but there are things he CAN do to help himself, which he has refused to do. It was either me or him, & I chose me out of self-preservation. I refuse to feel guilty for that.

          • Hi Rennie,

            Great comment. Thank-you for saying that you refuse to feel guilty for that. I don’t think you should feel guilty. You were in an impossible situation with only bad options available and you picked the least bad one. And you saved yourself – which is extremely important and absolutely matters.

            No, you shouldn’t feel guilty. Good for you for saying it.

            – Natasha Tracy

          • Rennie — what you choose to feel guilty about or not guilty about is your decision. Perhaps you are struggling with that since you mentioned it…..many people feel just awful for making a number of decisions — I had a friend who asked me to try and help her sister, who then killed herself. Hey, you don’t think I felt a little “guilty” ? Like how or what did I say or not say that drove her to suicide ? I still feel a little responsible yet logically I know that I did not kill her and that I did make an effort to help. I feel good about myself for trying. Guess what she had — ANOREXIA / BULIMIA……………………this is another “mental illness” — this is one of the cruelest and hardest to treat. People tell them JUST EAT or JUST STOP. So why don’t they ? ANOSOGNOSIA may be why – may not. If anyone is unfamiliar with that word, please ask Goodle or Wikipedia (I am not getting any financial dollars from either of these entities). Rennie – may you find peace with your decision. Your decision if yours – no one else’s.

    • Hi Anonymous,

      I’m sorry you had to go through that. You bring up a good point – the other person often _does_ feel like it’s their fault. Not only does the person with the illness drag the other down with the symptoms of their illness, whatever they may be, but they often blame the other person and that person thinks it’s their fault. It’s a double-whammy. You have the destruction and the guilt. And it’s really hard to climb out from under that.

      But once you do, and you can see things clearly, sometimes you do realize that there’s nothing you can do and, of course, it _isn’t_ your fault.

      – Natasha Tracy

  147. If you tell a blind man to just try harder to see, what type of person are you ? If the elderly with Alzheimer’s disease were left to wander the street, how would that make you feel ? Now let’s say it is your mother — now let’s say it’s YOU. Do people with Alzheimer’s disease need to be locked in a concrete cell to make them think better, take their medication and not urinate on the floor ? There is no applause from me on your comments written here other than the ones that extend compassion to the broken hearted. Everyone makes their own decisions — promoting people to abandoned a person with a medical condition is just sickening. Does that mean YOU have a mental illness ? Remember, what type of person asks a blind man to just try harder to see ?

    • Hi Betsy,

      It’s not about asking a blind man to see it’s about asking him to stop hitting you. There is a difference between having an illness and doing nothing but inflicting pain on another person, not to mention the fact that people who refuse to get treatment are rather like people who could see but refuse to wear glasses.

      The people with a mental illness that others may have to part from are those that do nothing but hurt them or those that are very sick and refuse treatment. Neither of those scenarios fit into a “blind person” analogy. And yes, people put other’s with Alzheimer’s in professional care facilities because sometimes those people _need_ that much care. Well what would you do if the person needed that much care and refused to go and instead just threatened to burn your house down twice a week?

      It’s not about compassion. Loved ones of a person with a mental illness often have all the compassion in the world but it doesn’t mean that they have to let the person with the mental illness destroy them too. Yes, in an ideal world we would be able to take care of each other, but if you have to work, your mentally ill loved one has to place to live and has to live with you, and you can’t trust him to be alone in your house, what do you do exactly? What if your mentally ill loved one keeps calling the police on you from within your own house? What if they do beat you? What if they hit your kids? What if they stole? What if they pawned your TV set?

      These are not examples pulled out of the air. These are things that _really_ happen to people _every_ day.

      And these people who are being abused by the person with the mental illness then have to deal with the scorn from others who feel that they should take _any_ level of abuse because it is a loved one. Well that just isn’t true. Everyone has a right to be happy and everyone has a right to a life and for every person on this earth there are limits.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • No one enjoys being hit or having their house burned down – is that how you interpreted my post ? Alzheimer’s patients often hit people and many people refuse treatment for their diabetes. Why aren’t these people put in a concrete cell ? If you re-read my post, I said that I will not applaud your comments other than the ones (comments) you said that extended compassion to the broken hearted (i.e. the loved ones of the mentally ill person). Do you believe I posted my comments because I don’t KNOW about the mentally ill ? Do you even know if I am a psychiatrist, a social worker, a psychotherapist or anything ? NO, you don’t. Everyone has limits – DUH. Not everyone can stick around to watch a loved one die of cancer, yet are the people with cancer put in a concrete cell ? There is no ANSWER for a number of social problems, and YOU have a right to tell people to say GOODBYE to anyone. I definitely would not hire you as a grief counselor. I understand that you want to remind people that they can walk away from people. In my opinion, which is not the final judgment or anything, your writing style is what I find a tad sickening. Delivery is an important part of an article. Shoot, maybe my delivery in my response is poor. I simply do not like yours.

        • Betsy,

          Or is it Catherine? Your writings seem awfully similar to me.

          “Do you even know if I am a psychiatrist, a social worker, a psychotherapist or anything ? NO, you don’t.” — Betsy

          No, I also don’t know but I’d be curious to read your response to your own question by filling me in with the answer(s).

          Blind man, Alzheimer’s Disease, Diabetes, concrete cell, “Not everyone can stick around to watch a loved one die of cancer, yet are the people with cancer put in a concrete cell ”; just what is it that you’re talking about? What do your references to these disabilities or illnesses and concrete cells have to do with one individual being abusive toward another or subjecting others to violence or intimidation?

          I read Natasha’s blog. Please explain to me any place where she was “promoting people to abandoned a person with a medical condition is just sickening.” The fact that her writings are more toned-down than in the past doesn’t obscure the most important fact that she deals with reality and very difficult subject matter that may not be pleasing to all.

          I respectively read your statement “your writing style is what I find a tad sickening” but then again there is no telling for one another’s taste. I am also puzzled as to your questioning her compassion. Maybe you overlooked her statements:

          “As I write this I weep for my brother. I weep for his pain. I weep for what he’s going through. I weep for what I know drives him to his behavior. I weep for his mentally ill brain.

          And I weep for me. Because the white-haired boy hiding under the covers is gone. And there’s nothing I can do to bring him back.” — Natasha

          Warmly,
          Herb
          vnsdepression@gmail.com
          http://www.vnstherapy-herb.blogspot.com

          • I am not a writer, although Herb said he was interested in other’s “credentials.” What is this some contest Herb ? Are you feeling a tad grandiose about yourself ? Hey, if you feel that you need some award for having been involved with DBSA, why not just pat yourself on your own back and quit flaunting it. Don’t get me wrong, your involvement is to be recognized, yet why would you think you need to know someone else’s credentials ? Ya know, I feel like I’m bashing you. I’m sure you aren’t a bad man, I’m just angry – is that allowed ? And on that note “goodbye” ? Just kidding. Your comments are welcome on here (right Natasha ?) just like everyone else’s. Have you considered that there may be people writing on here that have only a high school education (or less) and yet they are not a lesser human being than you. You even said you questioned my “maturity.” I would like to throw up now.
            I am assuming that people on here write because they are still hurting and are struggling to find some peace. Guess what – SO AM I !!! You asked about my references to a blind man, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease – well, these too are also medical conditions. Please re-read my comments – for easy access use the search button on your computer – type in Betsy (just want to be helpful – this page is getting longer). Alzheimer’s patients are OFTEN combative – why are they not put in a concrete cell ? You do know what a concrete cell is right ? If not, let me explain. When some people with a medical condition land in jail (not a hospital), the jail personnel place them in a room made of concrete. Get it now ? So, if your grandmother say is hitting people in a nursing home ROUTINELY, why doesn’t she go to jail ? She is being abusive and violent. See, I used that as a parallel. That is a writing style. Our world is not just and fair, so no one can fix everything, yet people with medical conditions mentioned on this page often wake up inside a jail cell. Sometimes they have no clue how they got there. Imagine waking up in a concrete room, staring down at a bright orange jumpsuit wondering how you got there ? Fun eh ? Then imagine NO ONE being there for you because everyone has said “goodbye.” When I think about this concept I just cringe – and yet this happens to MANY people. But hey, “goodbye” medically impaired person (that comment is known as “sarcasm” in case you didn’t get it). Thankfully, some social workers notice them and extend some human kindness. God bless them all. Extending kindness to a person who is exhibiting symptoms of psychosis versus suicidal depression is usually a very different situation. If someone sees another human being crying non-stop for several days, they seem to get more compassion – seems rather normal. Yet when someone is acting like a rabid werewolf, the compassion (I mean lack thereof) changes into a punitive one.
            You asked for me to explain any place where Natasha is “promoting” people to say goodbye. Hey, notice the TITLE of her article. I do not believe her “intentions” are to promote this as she mentioned in another part of this page, yet when I originally got on here I felt disturbed by her writing style (ex. tone). That does not make me right. I have no idea how to applaud anyone for saying “goodbye.” Should I practice in the mirror every morning to get it right ? Just so you know, I don’t think it is sane to say “hey violent person, let’s have a cup of coffee and chat.” I am not promoting people to stay in a volatile situation. I feel that everyone writing on here hasn’t said “goodbye” which is evidenced by them writing about it. Removing yourself physically from an individual is not, TO ME, saying “goodbye” it says more like “I have run out of ideas on how to help you and just can’t take it anymore.” That doesn’t make that person, in MY opinion, bad or wrong……yet applause seems rather inappropriate eh ? I do not know how to say “good for you” when someone chooses to get away from a problematic individual. That is MY thinking, doesn’t have to be anyone else’s.
            So Herb, how about answering the question about whether or not you have any FINANCIAL INTEREST in the products you have your blog ? Natasha, I was just wondering if that is an acceptable thing to do on here ? I would imagine that a number of the BigPharma people would like to write to you then so they can promote their products on one of your blog pages. I sure hope not.
            Natasha – I believe you are doing your best to give people a forum to speak out.

        • I think you understand (or do you?) that it is sometimes necessary for a carer to divorce themselves from a loved one who is mentally ill, and to do so for their own safety or good mental health. Having to live with someone who is crazy can make you crazy. But they obviously find it hard to actually leave them in spite of the damage the relationship is doing to their own welfare. No one wants to walk a way from someone who is drowning. But I am sure you would agree that no one should destroy their own lives for the sake of a partner who is beyond their help. Indeed, I think it ought to be engraved into everyone’s skull, indelibly tatooed onto our hands that we should all be at least as kind and considerate to ourselves as we are to anyone else! We deserve that and anyone who thinks they don’t, anyone who thinks their mentally ill partner deserves more consideration than themselves, that person is well on the way of becoming mentally ill themselves, if they are not so already. So, if you cannot save someone from drowning, it is reasonable to cut the rope so you don’t have to drown with them. My interpretation is that Tracy is not telling people to leave their sick partners or children or friends; rather, she is saying that it’s ok to do so, to say “goodbye”, to cut the rope, where doing so is for your own best interest, that doing so does not make you a bad person. There is nothing wrong in saying that; there is everything kind in saying it because it reassure people who are thinking of saying goodbye that they are not selfish or bad if they do it. I say this as one who has a mental illness and lost a great partner because of it; I am now married but I still miss my first partner very much, yet acknowledge she did the right thing leaving me to get on with her life.

        • Betsy,
          I’m not sure where you are coming from. It seems like you completely missed the point of what Natasha is trying to convay.
          Just because she chose to illiminate abuse from her life does not mean that she doesn’t care or does not have empathy. In fact she expresses how heart breaking it was for her to let go. I don’t know how many analogies you need but when the oxygen mask falls from the celing of an aircraft you are told to put yours on first before helping others for obvious reasons. If someone constantly tried to rip your mask off eventually you would have to walk away so that you may live. Natasha was in an unsafe environment and simply chose herself as heart breaking as that was.
          I’m confused about your “concret cell” remark. Are you talking about prison? Mentally ill patients who are having a break just like alzheimers patients and the like are confined to a facility where they are cared for and given the appropriate treatments so that they don’t become a danger to themselves or others. Unfortunately, many bipolar or schizophrenia patients do not accept treatment and are a danger to others. When that someone is you what are you supposed to do? Also, I don’t think as a rule cancer patients become violant so I’m not sure what you were trying to say there!
          I am amuzed by your statement “Do you even know if I am a psychiatrist, a social worker, a psychotherapist or anything ?” because Lord…I hope not.
          Natasha’s writing style is eloquent, enlightening, and authentic. She speaks from the heart and sometmes gets pissed off. Having a mental illness myself I can certainly understand. Her forum is for people to vent though and I guess that is what you were doing. However, you don’t seem to understand mental health issues which leads me to believe that you haven’t had to deal with it on a personal level.
          Sincerely,
          Patricia

          • I was confused about the concrete cell remark, as well. Not knowing what her personal circumstances were, there are incidents that require detainment. For me, it was very hard, actually the hardest thing to do. I felt sick, watching the kind of people, that were in these places with my son. One incident, where my son had to be put in a place, so that he would not harm himself, or others. This place, unfortunately, had a person that was highly dangerous, not supposed to be in this particular area. A man, went around hitting people, attacked my son, unprovoked, as he was “crazy.” The police were called several times, only to be sent away. Charges were never pressed. I called them on this (the staff), and told them point blank, that these people, my son included, were there for their protection. The staff’s eye’s popped wide open. I scared the hell out of them. The sad thing was, there was a “cell” in this big room, where there were windows all around, and this person could have been put in there,and monitered, to prevent him from attacking the patients. HE NEEDED TO BE IN A CELL. He was let out, after my son was, and killed a man. He also, tried to kill his father. This is the “crazy” guy, not my son. If the hospital, had worked with the authorities, and kept him seperated from the non-violent patients, my son, along with others would not have been harmed. The man did go to jail,tried,and convicted, and I hope he stays there for a very long time. So, admitting a person to a hospital, is very tricky, and sometimes, is necessary. But, again, the doctors, and nurses, etc. have to do their job properly. I definetely regretted having my son placed there. It was horrifying. It’s a catch 22, you never know who is going to do the right thing, and you have to sit back in horror, and pray you’ll, along with your loved one, will never make that mistake again. This place, worried more about HIPPA, and being sued, than the safety of their patients. My eyes were wide open, after that. Horrible, horrible disease. If you can get help on a out-patient basis, obviously, it is a much better option.

  148. I actually get sick to my stomach reading this!! My husband WAS Bipolar, he sought help, he fought his demons for many, many years, bravely!! He lost his battle a year and a half ago when he put a bullet from a 9mm into his brain… I was with him when he chose to end his life… these people do not have a choice… So… if you need to say goodbye to them while they are alive, then be prepared to say goodbye to them when they are dead… could I have “saved” my husband… probably not… but at least I am able to sleep knowing he did not die ALONE… this disease is a horrible disease, I know, I also suffer from it.
    I don’t know what I would do if my family were to turn their backs on me… Yep.. it’s cruel as hell… glad you all are not on my cheering squad!!!!

    • Hi DeeDee,

      I’m so sorry to hear of what you went through. That sounds impossibly difficult and I’m sure I can’t even imagine it.

      Please understand, I’m not suggesting that people say goodbye to others with a mental illness I’m just saying that at extreme times, there may be no other option for some people – but that is a person-by-person decision. I’ve never done it, personally, but then, I’ve never been beaten by a person with a mental illness over and over like some people have (for example). This is obviously the rare exception but it happens and sometimes you just can’t stick around and watch it keep happening.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • Natasha — I have been beaten by a person with a mental illness. It ain’t fun – nope.

    • My son started showing signs of bipolar illness at 17. He went to live with my ex, his Father for a year, after a stupid fight. I invited him to go on a cruise with myself, his stepfather, and his brother. It was then, I saw a totally different person. He showed no respect, and let’s just say it was an experience. After that, he went into army boot camp, which I begged him no to go, as I knew he would not be able to handle it. His Father talked him into doing this, as a way of getting him out of his house. As I knew, he came home at christmas time, and tried to go a-wall. He ended up in the army mental hospital, and came out so overmedicated, he was speaking in tongues. Completely psychotic. He was given a medical discharge. He went back and forth, between myself, and his Father for a few years. His Father refused to admit, even in court, that he was bipolar, and was using drugs.”self medication” I sent him to psychiatrists, to no avail. He became angry all the time, and violent. He mostly threatened me, as I was the only one that tried to help him. His Father gave up on him, the last 2 years of his life. I never gave up, took him to court, and had him court mandated to monthly counseling at the mental health center. He still did not fully comply. The social worker promised he would not let him fall through the cracks. Well, he did. He nearly died taking the medicine they prescribed to him. It affected his heart. I had him commuted 4 to 5 times. The social worker, refused my efforts to put him in the hospital 2 weeks before he was killed by a drunk driver at 1:00. In th morning. It was not his fault. The guy had over 100.00 bar bill in his car. Refused the breathalizer. Of course, it was done several hours later. Bottom line, I was put in a position, where no one else even tried to help my child. It was way too big of a problem for him or me to take on by ourselves. The mental health system was more worried about hippo, than saving a life. Every time I called, when there were re flags, I was told to “let him flap in th wind” or he had to be commuting a crime in order for them to help. I even wrote letters to the judge, begging to change his social worker. Nothing. I know my son is in heaven, as God takes care of the mentally ill. If he had gotten the proper help, he might still be alive today. He was supposed to get better, thanks to a drunk, and a failed system, that never happened. You can’t give up on the Bipolar, they never even gave me lab results to show he was properly diagnosed. When this is over, there will be things done to change this screwed up system, if I have anything to say about it. All I can do, is be grateful my son did not suffer. The drunk will, and anyone else involved. God bless all the Mothers out there, that try to make a difference.

      • Hi Lost and Grieving,

        First, I’m sorry I didn’t answer your comment when it came it. I know I wanted to but I think I was slammed with comments and this one just feel through. I’m sorry about that but when it comes to issues like yours, I have to set aside time to fully read your comment and think about a response.

        Now, as for your son. I’m sorry to say that his story is not that uncommon among the seriously ill. There are people with a mental illness and there are people with severe mental illnesses that have no insight into their own condition and it sounds like your son was the latter. It very hard to say what would have helped him, but yes, of course more people reaching out in quality ways would have been helpful. Unfortunately social workers are overburdened and it can be really hard for them to give each person the help and attention they deserve.

        One thing I can say is that I don’t know your stand on assisted outpatient treatment, but that might have been a helpful option. It’s where a court mandates treatment. If you’re looking for a cause or for a way to change the system, you might consider supporting that program. http://natashatracy.com/mental-illness-issues/lauras-law-forced-treatment-saved-lives/

        Here is an organization that works to get AOT law passed and implemented in states: http://lauras-law.org/states/california/lauraslawfactsheet.html

        I’m not sure if that will help your grieving process, but it’s just a suggestion I thought of.

        Again, please accept my apologies for not getting back to you. Yours is an important subject that deserves time and attention.

        – Natasha Tracy

        • Thank you for replying to my blog. I just wanted to emphasize, my son was court mandated to the mental health center. That is why, I got so frustrated with them. If he was forced, for his own safety, then they needed to be forced to follow up on situations when called. I called many times, when there were red flags, only to be ignored or sneered at. There is only so much you can do, when they are stubborn, and don’t want to listen. He was put on an antipyschotic, and just about killed himself, by taking too much. They wouldn’t even consider giving him injections, which would have solved one problem. If the social worker had done his job, when I asked him to, mabe, he could have gotten the help he needed. No one, monitored his work, or my son properly. If they had, he wouldn’t have ended up in the hospital as many times, as he did. He’s in God’s hands now. I just have to get through the grieving process. Thank you for your time.

          • Hi Lost and Grieving,

            What you’re pinpointing is a frustration of many and something that group of people is trying to address. Because it’s not enough that court-mandated treatment be issued – if no one ensures that it is followed, what good is it?

            But, of course, I’m not suggesting you take up a cause, I just thought you might find that helpful at some point in the future. For now, I agree with you, you need to take whatever time you need and grieve in whatever way is best for you.

            My thoughts are with you.

            – Natasha Tracy

    • DeeDee — the diseases of the brain are very cruel indeed. Like you, I wouldn’t want SOME of these people on my cheering squad. I almost think they want to use the cheer that says “Rah Rah Ree, Kick Em in the Knee.” I want to believe the people that write on here are simply trying to deal with their FEELINGS and EMOTIONS surrounding the PAIN in making some of their decisions that really really really were hard for them. Yet, I am NOT giving them any applause. In my opinion, they are hurting.

  149. What about people who want treatment but can’t get help? It’s hard to navigate all the arrangements when your brain isn’t working.

    • Hi Jen,

      Yes, that’s a big problem with no easy answer. I think that’s when it’s time to get your support network in gear to help. For example, maybe you could get someone to call your insurance company, if that’s something you need, or drive you to doctor’s appointments, or get information about services in your area.

      If that’s not possible, then just making small goals that will eventually lead to help you need is something that can usually be done. Rather than trying to navigate everything – which is very hard, try just doing one little thing – which is easier.

      I do know how hard it can be but help is out there and some resources are specifically designed to help you navigate the system (like social workers).

      – Natasha Tracy

  150. I’m so sorry to hear your story, it is terrible when people will not get the help they need. It pretty much comes down to the decision of letting mental illness rule your life or to trust a doctor with treating you. If it were any other type of illness people would have begun treatment at the first sign of an issue.
    You can put people on an involuntary mental health hold if they are a danger to themselves or others, as you are probably aware. If they get the proper treatment and learn to trust the doctor then they will most likely continue treatment. It would be great if people understood to get help before the mental illness becomes such a hinderance.
    Anyway, at the point where people have seen help and continually refuse it, abandoning them for your own safety is a good option. The difference between someone getting help and deal with in by self medication (drugs) is illustrated in a real life: I have schizophrenia episode by mtv (clicky).
    It does take time to accept help for it, but for those that do it makes a huge difference. As you are probably well aware having bipolar yourself.

    • Hi Lost_the_key,

      Thanks for chiming in.

      You’re right, if it were any other illness people likely would treat it a lot sooner, but unfortunately, as you know the stigma of mental illness keeps a lot of people from getting help. Plus I think there is this notion that we should be able to “handle it ourselves” probably because it’s invisible. No one would expect a person to handle cancer by themselves, but somehow with mental illness, people have different perceptions.

      Yes, I’ve written about involuntary psych holds a few times. They are there but they are hard to actually use in many cases. I talk to people all the time who clearly have loved ones that are a danger to themselves but they still can’t seem to get them into treatment.

      And you’re right, acceptance makes all the difference in the world.

      Thanks for your comment.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • Dear Natasha,

        I’m in the mental health business, and have a story as well. When I came upon your blurb about “saying goodbye to someone”….I nearly fell to the ground. I have been doing research and caregiving for a schizophrenic son (now an adult, an angel and med compliant) and a daughter (adult bipolar) who was living 1 mile away from me, but wouldn’t see me and wouldn’t take meds and has had bipolar for over 20 years.

        She went “off the grid” again as us Moms never give up, never surrender, and I helped her get into an apt., furnish it, get on Section 8, get healthcare benefits etc, and as of 1 month ago, did a “drive by” as she would legally get a restraining order against me (she never wins her legal battles, but she has brought down in a legal fashion social workers, physicians, my own personal hospital) as she’s manipulate, borderline and quite intelligent. Her apt. was vacant except for a paint can on the floor. She sold everything after 5 years of living there and fled out of State because she met a girl who said she would share her house with her as a co-renter. She’s now homeless in that State as the girl kicked her out within 24 hours.

        My family feels since she has been so aggressive to me (has in the past beat me up, threatened to harm me), but is just brutally paranoid, personality disordered, psychotically depressed, I get no support from them as they probably wish she was dead so I could have a life. My wish as I am older is that she have a safe roof over her head, enough to eat, clothing, healthcare etc. She is obsessed that I am a threat to her safety (which I understand). This has been part of her paranoia for 15 years. I know which homeless shelter out of State she’s in. I cannot continue to provide $500/month so they will continue to house her and feed her (she wasn’t eating – she had no money). I still work full time, but I CAN’T….I CAN’T give up. Do I have to say goodbye? Your comment was so relevant. I’m divorced, have had a serious serious illness in the past couple years and she abandoned me, but I cannot abandon her. She’s my flesh and blood. How does a parent say goodbye to their child.

        I counsel families every day about involuntary hospitalization, conservatorships, guardianships, HIPPA, get help for your kid before they turn 18, but I can’t say goodbye to my own adult daughter. It’s the Mother bear in me and it’s been over 2 years since I’ve seen her. I don’t want to pass on knowing I’ll never see her again. I’m having difficulty working (and I see a therapist) due to the cycling movie reel in my head of her homeless on the streets. Is there such a thing as a psychiatric interventionist? I know people who abuse drugs have those available, but people with mental health issues don’t.

        • Hi Rita,

          Thanks for your comment.

          I’m sorry you’re experiencing such difficulty with mental illness in your family. That must be very hard. I will say though, only you know how much support is right for you to give. If you feel driven to continue supporting someone who treats you very badly, that is your call. I can understand how the people around you would be frustrated with you, however, as what you’re doing is somewhat self-destructive and no one likes to see someone we care about get hurt.

          I don’t know of anyone who specializes in an “intervention” type of meeting for a person with a mental illness, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t stage one and have another kind of interventionist help you. If they aren’t up to it, another type of therapist would, I’m sure. There are also mental health coaches out there (very much like me) who take on clients to help them and their families through mental health issues but unfortunately, they are like me, virtual, and I don’t think that would have the necessary impact in an intervention-type setting.

          Certainly, try an intervention if that’s what you feel is appropriate, I’ve actually written about this, but it might be a little below what you’re going through: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2010/09/how-do-i-convince-my-friend-to-get-help-for-bipolar-disorder/

          However, if your best efforts don’t work, I would encourage you to try to make peace with the situation. Some things and some people simply never change and there is nothing you can do about it. Try to focus on all the great things that are working in your life rather than the one thing that is not. I know how hard that must be to do when that thing is your child, but at some point, you have to realize that is no longer a child – that is an adult that is responsible for herself, just as I am, just as you are. And if she wants to self-destruct there is nothing you can do to stop her. You cannot possibly be everywhere, with a net, all the time.

          And think of all the other people in your life you are shortchanging while you repeatedly try to help someone who very clearly doesn’t want your help.

          I don’t say these things to make you feel bad – you are doing the best you can, but perhaps a step back and another perspective might help a little.

          – Natasha Tracy

  151. Hi, Just found your site…My sister has bi-polar. She is 39 yrs. old with two children that she hasn’t been able to be a real mom to since she was divorced 10 yrs. ago. She initially cared for them during the day, while working part time when her husband returned home from his job. Then came the divorce. She had no lawyer to defend her. With no real income coming in, they agreed on shared custody with the children living with him during the week and spending weekends with her. Shortly after the divorce, they tried to reconcile and that failed. She was unable to find steady work and moved in with her parents. Her ex-husband felt this was an unsafe environment for the children to visit on the weekends so he pushed for full custody and child support. He won. Her car was soon repossessed and she lost the one job she had. Since that time, she has only been able to contact her children by phone or visit them when her ex approved for a couple hours here and there. She has since been diagnosed with bi-polar,PTSD, anxiety, and panic disorders, claimed she was suicidal (though she never actually attempted it) and claims to have seen hallucinations and heard voices. My sister also has a history of not being honest. When she’s scared, she lies to get what she wants. She has claimed that her husband was emotionally abusive and called her an idiot, stupid, etc. and constantly belittled her. So, she’s been to numerous psychiatric programs, one even for abused women. She now is unable to hold down any kind of job and has stopped looking. She has been living with family and friends since her divorce and gone to shelters when no one was able to take her in. She has run out of places to stay and people to take care of her. When all else fails, she walks into a hospital and says she’s suicidal and they have to keep her and of course, they do for 30 days or less and then she goes back on the street again. She has Food Stamps and Medicaid but no other financial assistance. She is afraid to contact a lawyer as to her parental rights as she believes her husband will call the police and put her in jail for all the back child support she owes. I know she feels so destitute not to be able to be a part of her kids’ lives and she is scared. But we cannot take care of her for the rest of her life. It’s a cycle. She’ll play the part, follow the rules, go to treatment programs until she gets tired of it and then she just stops participating in them, stops looking for work or working around the house, just stops trying. I think her medicine has messed with her brain. Family has taken her in and told her places to go to get the help she needs, but she refuses to call or go there. She has no initiative anymore. We can’t do these things for her, she has to take care of herself. She doesn’t do illegal drugs at all or drink that I’m aware. Just prescription meds. She’s lived on the street when the shelters have said she’s run out of time. She’s now in a hospital again, but I know she’s not suicidal, just ran out of options for a place to stay. How many times can a person be admitted to a hospital for mental health issues before she is permanently admitted to a state mental hospital. But then again, if she doesn’t have the right insurance, they might not even accept her in it-then she’s out on the street again to repeat this over and over. Not right.

    • Hi Belinda,

      I’m sorry to hear of your sister’s problems. That sounds very difficult.

      The one thing I can say is that likely, her life is overwhelming to her and there is so much to do, it seems impossible to even start. She may see that she has failed over and over again and there is no use in trying any more. Obviously, I can’t speak for her, but I can empathize for what she might be going through.

      Maybe you’re right, maybe she’s “playing the part” of a compliant patient, but maybe she’s really trying. Of course, I can’t say. But when treatment doesn’t work it’s _extremely_ discouraging and when you look at your life and it seems to have fallen apart, it may even be more so.

      I guess what I would say is that she needs to focus on one thing at a time as facing it all at once is just too much. Can someone help her get subsidised housing? Housing should be the first consideration as without a place to live, no other treatment will likely be successful. If that can be the focus until it’s handled then it’s only one thing. One thing that can yield success.

      Then, once that it done, she needs to focus on some kind of work, if that’s a possibility for her. Again, just focusing on one thing at a time.

      Yes, this is the long way to go about doing things but it might also be the way that works.

      I’m sorry she, and you, are in such a tough spot but hopefully she is willing to try, but maybe in a new way and someone can stand beside her if she is prepared to do that.

      – Natasha Tracy

    • Hi there Belinda,
      I am a high-functioning bipolar so I’d like to add some insights to your story, from your sister’s point of view, in terms of how she may be experiencing this illness. Mental illness is so hard to understand for the healthy because it’s invisible. I remember when I was recovering at home after an episode, there were things that I wanted to do, that I knew how to do, that I knew I should be capable of. When I tried to do them, it was like lifting half my weight in concrete to even start to get going. After five minutes I would have to go and lie down. My husband would have to get takeaways for us every night after work, even though we couldn’t afford it. I literally had no motivation. I know all of the tricks for increasing motivation for a healthy person, such as during exams or similar times. None of them work for severe mental illness. Sometimes you just have to accept that the person is disabled, just as they would be if they had a physical disability. And yes it fluctuates, good days, bad days, easy tasks, bad tasks. If I had a physical disability and I couldn’t stand to cook at the stove, nobody would say to me ‘snap out of it’ or ‘reward yourself afterwards’, and they would not get frustrated if I couldn’t do it.

      I guess what I’m trying to say is, it sounds like your sister has been extremely disabled by her bipolar disorder. It is not anyone’s fault, not hers, not yours, not her husbands. She needs good and patient care for her disability, and the love and support of family. Only then will she begin to stabilise a little. Good on you for caring about her. This must be very stressful on you and the family too. Take care of yourself first, but remember that your support means the world to her, when you can spare it.

  152. This is a tragic post because the writer is incapable of honoring the struggle of a human being who is in pain. Rather than muster empathy, compassion and problem-solving, she shuts out the people who need her most. There is something wrong with America when families send their loved ones to prison or institutions when what they need most is the love and support of their community.

    • Catherine, Clearly you have never had to deal with someone who is mentally ill and who refuses to acnowledge they are ill, who raves on and relentlessly on for want of treatment. All the love in the World won’t cure them, not if they do not accept they need curing. They steam on with their delusional lives leaving a trail of destruction behind them – broken marriages, ruined relationships with children, family, friends and employers, with debts, sometimes for thousands of $$$’s, and often in trouble the Law. How can you support someone who refuses to be supported? How can to help someone who is abusive, sometimes violent and clearly wants you miles away from their company? (If you insist on staying with them when they want to be alone, you may be risking your life! How can a spouse stay put to support their partner when their illness has them sleeping around with anyone who will f@@k them … on the sly, overtly, sometimes even in public? Yep. All of this has been known with victims of Bipolar mania.

      To rescue a drowning man, first you have to be able to swim, to be a strong swimmer; if you’re not, it’s likely you and the drowning man will both end up dead. So, our first responsibility is for our own health, our own well-being,. That isn’t being selfish, that is making sure we are strong enough to help others when they need help, when THEY ASK for help. So, when a loved one is weakening you so you can barely care for yourself, let alone care for them when they are refusing that care anyway, you have to walk away. That does not mean you need not walk back another day … if they get help and recover, maybe getting back is possible. Maybe.

      I feel this issue because (I suspect like Natasha) I have been on both side of this fence. In fact, I’m facing it again right now, like Natasha also with a brother. I wrestle with my conscience because my heart wants to give in to all his unreasonable demands; but I know doing that will not help him, nor anyone else. It seems I must even provoke a crisis to stop him in his tracks, so he may finally accept he is unwell and get the help he needs … dangerous thing to do because a crisis for someone with a mental illness can easily end in tragedy.

    • Dear Catherine,

      Your remark is interesting but what I do find puzzling is the fact that you obviously took some time to read through Natasha’s blog site, found this old topic and chose to share your remark without sharing with any of us readers some of your history and background to justify your comments as others have done.

      You weren’t firing off a broad-side salvo for effect, were you?

      I try to read up on the backgrounds of some of these commenters to better understand from where one is coming from.

      As I stated previously your remark is interesting and rather than just respectfully retorting with my immediate thoughts I would like to better understand your feelings and justification for your position.

      Warmly,
      Herb
      vnsdepression@gmail.com
      http://www.vnstherapy-herb.blogspot.com

  153. Natasha- I just found this blog after typing in a search on google, convinced there would be nothing to help comfort me. And there is was. You put into words everything that I am rationally feeling but can’t seem to work towards. My sibling has been on a downward mental spiral since she and her husband separated. Initially, I thought it was the guilt of infidelity, the stress of trying to reconcile a marriage, the shame of everything that created this perfect storm. She saw things, was paranoid, was immediately given an antidepressant by her General Dr. which only made things worse. She stole our car and just started driving to the beach, a place where she felt happiest. She ultimately got pulled over and the cop recognized something was wrong but the judge dismissed it saying she was not a “danger to herself or to others”, wow, who knew those words would haunt me every day and be the ultimate roadblock to getting her help. Her spouse convinced her to check herself into a hospital for evaluation. I don’t know what they told her or what she experienced, but I think she was scared silent. She is now divorced, convinced her old job was after her so quit, couldn’t pay bills so lost her home and has collectors calling. She moved in with my mom. Her odd behavior has made my mom so uncomfortable being there that she now stays with us. We tried to confront her and say she needs counseling and a job if she wants to continue to stay there. She called the cops and proceeded to tell them I was holding her against her will and when they arrived, she told them all of the awful things we have been doing to her. It took them less than 10 minutes to determine she needed help, but of course could not do anything. My mom and I have gone from trying to talk to her to removing ourselves from her to trying to help her. But she still shows sign of mental illness but aggressively confronting neighbors, ignoring us, being fixated on strange topics. She won’t get help. She blames it on not having a job, on us not being nice to her, on everything but her. It’s breaking my mom’s heart and making me seek counseling. My mom’s only option at this point is to officially evict her but she can’t do it- it’s her daughter, what if something happens to her? I keep thinking that maybe if we are nice to her, she will trust us or her spastic mind will quiet down enough to be open to help. But now neighbors are approaching my mom telling her that she is showing signs of mental illness and needs help. It’s embarrassing and hurtful and just makes us feel more helpless. I feel like we have no one to turn to for help. She has no friends, we have no family in the area. She has soured relationships we have had with family friends so they don’t want to do anything. And it wouldn’t matter if we had an official intervention or had others confront her, she will just leave the house until we’re gone or call the cops again.

    • Hi Nancy,

      That sounds very difficult. Have you read these two articles I wrote: http://natashatracy.com/mental-illness-issues/tell-someone-mental-illness/ I`m not sure it will help in your situation, but probably worth a read.

      Honestly, when there are no good choices left, and it sounds like there aren`t in your case, the only ones left are bad and eviction may be the one you need to try. You may need to insist on eviction or help with her mental illness. It`s her choice, she must leave or get help. Yes, something bad could happen, there is no doubt, but how long can you go on living like this? That`s something only you can answer.

      – Natasha Tracy

  154. So how exactly do I get off the Titanic? I have fought and sacrificed his whole life (23 years). The state won’t cover him for mental health because that would mean giving him money, as well as food stamps and medical….have been refered and denied several times. He barley reads or writes has little comprehension and retention. He is frustrated and angery all the time. I have no more to give and assist him I am bankrupty finacially and emotionaly! It has become a recurring theme that because he is not in trouble with the law he can’t be in crisis or need assistance……so what does he do but steal a beer and get arrested. No excuse for his behavior, I want him gone from my daily enviroment for my own sanity! What exactly should I do? How do I even begin? I have been working on him being more independent from me but seem to be efforts in vain. Any thoughts on how I can resolve this for me? I have given up on anyone helping him if I am involved because it becomes my issue and not the fact that he is mentally ill!

    • Hi Sherrie,

      It’s not an easy thing from which to extricate yourself. I don’t know what to suggest with regard to getting financial assistance as I’m not an expert in that area. I would suggest getting in contact with local mental health groups however as they will likely have ideas on that front. Try your local NAMI group. They advocate for people with mental illness and may be just what you need.

      You didn`t say what your relationship was to this person but, in general, you have every right to get help and have your own life. I can understand how frustrating it is to hit bureaucratic walls over and over again but there is help out there and you can find it.

      I`m sorry I can`t be of more help.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • I am speaking of my son……Thank you for responding. I am and have been involved in some of these groupes and I am working on making him leave my home……I have little peace at this time as you know and understand due to the fact he blames me for all his failures and troubles. My mother was mentally ill also and as my daughter reminded me it has not just been 23 years with my son(diagnosised and treated since age 4)but I was raised part of the time by my mentally ill mother. I have spent much time healing myself of the damage my mother inflicted and vowed my son would be able to live a better life even though he was so ill. I feel like a failure…those close to me that I trust and respect have been pushing me to make a change for my own sake as they are concerned of the effects my son has on me and my life,
        I want to share with you the story of the moment I realized that I was not crazy. I was 12 years old and I had a very upsetting episode with my mom. When I distanced myself from her and the abuse she was inflicting I was in my room, safe looking in the mirror with tears pouring down my face…I remember wondering what I had done this time that was so wrong for her to hurt me so and it was like my eyes were suddenly open and I said out loud “it is not me! it is her that is crazy!” I spent a great deal of time living with my father who it seemed was constantly rescuing me! He was very helpful in teaching me to set boundries for my mom and not letting her affect my life but still maintaining a relationship! She never did admit to the abuse or ask forgiveness from me (not sincerely at least, always as an emotional weapon) later in my life she tried in her way to tell me she accepted me and was proud of me but by then the scars were so deep I never really believed her. She died of cancer 4years ago and I cared for her in her home to the end! With her MDs help we had her admitted to the psych ward for a couple of weeks about 7months prior to her passing even then she never believed anything was wrong with her or that she needed treatment.
        I know in my head that it is not ok for my son or anyone else to abuse me but my heart aches! I feel relief at the fact I won’t be subject to his rage and anger any longer, then tremendous quilt at the fact I am abandoning him…….and great fear of the unknown and what may happen to him with no one to hold him accountable! I want to be happy and at peace but not sure I can live with the choices he makes for himself on his own. As far as the system goes I feel I am holding him back because I am knowledgable and atriculate so they see no need to help him. Also I am the easy explanation for the reason he is this way. Until a few days ago he has not been in trouble with the law…. he put a beer in his backpack and walked out of the store,,,he was caught, beat up by staff and restrained until the police came……he was not allowed a phone call…not given his meds…and accused of lying to the officers because he told them he was mentally ill……took less then 24hrs for them to check out his strory and drive him home. No excuses for his behavior he knows what he did was wrong….I think he believes his illness is an excuse for any bad behavior!
        Thanks for giving me a place to tell my stories and vent. And a huge thank you for letting me know I am not alone!!!

        • Hi Sherrie,

          I thought you might be talking about a son but I didn`t want to assume.

          I understand the guilt you must feel at what you have to do and the uncertainty that comes with doing it. But I must add that this might be the best thing for your son. If he doesn`t have you to blame or to learn on so strongly, maybe that will help him stand up on his own a little more. I know that might just be positive thinking, but it is possible and stranger things have happened.

          In the end, once we`re adults we have to take some responsibility over our lives and he has to take responsibility over his and his choices. I know that must be scary to watch, but we all must do it in the best way we can.

          You can vent here any time and be reminded that you`re not alone.

          – Natasha Tracy

    • My mentally ill and addicted son is 31. He was living with me, but threatening the safety of my family and home, but I knew I could not throw him out. Even though he didn’t pay rent, I would have had to given him an official eviction notice to move out within 30 days. Well, that would have been 30 days of fearful expectations that he would burn down the house or kill me. Once he did get moved out, I would have had to take out a restraining order to keep him from coming back to my door. Luckily, I’m in a position that I can help with rent for a ghetto apartment and he gets food stamps. He calls me most days wanting something. Some days are o.k.; he is civil and even engaging. Most of the days he is in a fog, angry, blaming, well, all of you know the rest. Tomorrow’s Mother’s Day and I know what that means. I will spend it like I’ve spent it for the past 20 years. (Well, actually, for the first 8 years I prayed for a miracle; that’s not going to happen.) I’ll just be sad and think about what most mothers tomorrow will take for granted–lunch with their adult child, church, a walk in the park–will be something that I will never experience. Never. Long story short, I will never find peace as long as I live in the same city, state or maybe even country that my son lives in. One day, I plan to just move. Just to leave. It will be cruel and I will expect that will be a price to pay in the hereafter for abandoning my child. I just want to go away someplace and grieve for him; the spirit that once defined my son has been dead for so long.

      • Hi Kathie,

        I’m very sorry to hear about your son. That sounds unbearably difficult. Unfortunately, you are not alone. Many people find themselves in the situation you now find yourself.

        One thing I can say is at least you are in a position to plan a way for him to leave your house. I know that might not seem like hugely good news but it is overall.

        And for the record, moving away isn’t “abandoning” your child, it’s giving you the space you need to thrive. Abandoning would be removing your heart, which clearly you haven’t done and I suspect won’t. Don’t beat yourself up about claiming your own life. You deserve a life. You deserve happiness. You deserve peace. No god worth believing in would punish you for that.

        Perhaps you could find additional support for yourself while you go through this challenging time? Friends and family are great but professionals like therapists can be a great help too. And look for a mental health organization in your local area (like NAMI or another) as many of them run groups specifically for family members of those with a mental illness. The support you could find in one of those groups could be invaluable.

        And one more thing, you deserve and need to grieve. That is a reasonable thing too. I had to grieve the me that I will never be due to mental illness and it’s completely reasonable to grieve the son that will never be as well.

        Positive thought with you.

        – Natasha Tracy

  155. Your post made me cry, it was so articulate. I can relate to all this. I went through this with my own brother, thirty years ago. I’m in my 50’s and I still have baggage and scars because of growing up with someone who was dangerous, and because of how my parents neglected me. I recently found out that my oldest brother, who took in the ill brother to help him at one point, had no idea of the extent of his mental illness, when I assumed that he knew what was going on. The ill brother became violent, he heard voices, he tried to set fire to the house by setting towels in a circle and setting them on fire, walked around the house at night when we were sleeping, etc. This went on all through my teen years. When he severely beat my mother (he and I both were in our early twenties) and would have killed her if she hadn’t escaped from her own home and away from him, we got an order of protection. But the hitch is that the police couldn’t do anything unless he showed up and tried to hurt someone, and by then it would be too late. I haven’t seen my brother in over 25 years, and a lot of people don’t understand how happy this makes me, and how my life flourished in his absence. I see mentally ill young men walking the streets where I live now, and it makes me sad that there is no real answer for dealing with these individuals. I have no desire to ever see him again, and there are many people who just cannot understand. Thank you for your post.

    • Hi Sue,

      I’m sorry to hear about your history. That sounds very difficult. Honestly, I don’t think I can adequately imagine it. I’m sorry.

      I do understand how being away from that would be a huge relief, maybe even make you happy and thankful. That’s OK. That just speaks to how horrible it was. I get that people might not get that but I do and so do many others who have had to watch the people they love be ensnared by mental illness. I’m sure it felt like you were taken prisoner with it too. It’s only natural to feel grateful to be out of that.

      Thank-you for your comment.

      – Natasha Tracy

  156. I used to date a guy that had a mental illiness but he refused to see it when I could and everyone else could too. He would call me several times a day with messages saying that I was doing things that I wasn’t . I told him many times that if he didn’t stop and get help that this would be the end of us. This was before he cheated on me with a 19 year old. He was with her for about 3 months till he came back to me. He said that he would go get help and I was happy to here that. He went to live with his mother and we stayed in connect thur the phone. But that all changed last night when he called me and send text messages saying that it was all my fault that he has problem when I l know that they are not. I told him in a text message that it was over for goodbye for good because I coulldnt take it anymore. I know he wasn’t taking his meds because this is how he is when he doesn’t . He called me and left me another message I didn’t answer the phone. Because I want him to understand that it is really over this time.

    • Hi Daydream,

      It sounds as if you’d come to the end of your rope in that situation and that you probably made the best decision for you. Sometimes you do have to say goodbye and let the person sort themselves out before you can continue any kind of contact.

      Hopefully your ex can get the help he needs and you both can heal.

      – Natasha Tracy

  157. HI Judy,

    I’m sorry to hear that, I know how hard it is to watch a person self-destruct. Unfortunately, I have seen it.

    Maybe you could get him declared compis non mentis and get a proxy to represent him, legally. I don’t know about this procedure, but this may allow you to move forward.

    You’re right to make the priority keeping yourself well. That is important. Without you being well, there is no one to help anyone else.

    I don’t know about being better off dead but I do agree it’s extremely troubling to have a serious mental illness and finding peace, and end to suffering, for that mind is a positive thought. Unfortunately, as you know, peace can be very difficult to come by.

    I certainly hope your husband doesn’t end up killing himself but I understand the fear that someone who is so ill might. It’s really tough to watch.

    Take care of yourself, I wish you and your husband the best.

    – Natasha Tracy

  158. I am so glad i found your page.I am currently dealing with a bipolar husband who refuses to take his medication.He is slowly destroying everything around him and has just recently bought a ticket to another country.The last time he did this he ended up in a prison after stealing a boat.It cost me a lot of money to get him out and home and in a hospital but he has just stopped the medication they gave him and went off the rails again.I am trying to sell my home so I can take half the equity and move on with my life without him but not knowing where to find him to sign any contract on the house is difficult and even if he were here his mind is not mentally stable so it would be against the law if he signed anyway.Bipolar is a very hard illness to be around as when they are good they are very creative people.We had business and houses and a good life but have lost it all to this illness.My main aim now is trying to keep myself well because he is convinced i am the devil who is out to kill him and tells me he has already hired a hit man to take care of me and they can’t blame him for it because he won’t be in the country.I have spoken to the police and until anything happens they are not taking it seriously.Sometimes even though I don’t mean this in a disrespectful way to people with the illness,those who refuse help and are highly physcotic are better off dead as at least their troubled mind is at ease and they are not suffering and in pain having to try and deal with everyday life.I have watched my husband struggle for the past few years trying to cope without medication his father committed suicide after a bipolar episode and the sad part is I think my husband will end up the same way.

  159. Hi Natasha,

    What an amazing post so filled with emotion, sympathy and compassion. The comments were extremely touching too as you mentioned. I also loved your Titanic analogy and it’s one many can relate to.

    I was having a discussion just today with my son about my late husband being diagnosed bipolar just a few weeks prior to his suicide, and how realizing that he was mentally ill allowed me to view all he’d done and put us through, in a very different light because it was his illness causing it. I was able to forgive because he was sick.

    His brother is undiagnosed but I’m quite certain he too is bipolar as was the father. His brother has put his family and friends through absolute hell and back, most burn out and disappear, but his Mom continually enables and pays and supports him. I have not had contact in over 11 years and probably never will unless having to attend my mother-in-law’s funeral, but I knew I had to cut him out of my life completely, as has his sister.

    I asked my son how was it that I could view my husband with compassion, understanding and support because he was ill, yet I can’t bring myself to do the same with his brother? My son said “because Rob (husband) didn’t intentionally spend most of his life causing harm and upset to everyone, whereas my brother-in-law did and still continues to. I was having a dilemma whether I was having two standards for the same thing, but after reading your post here, it explained it all. I made the right decision to not be in touch at all with my brother-in-law and I’m no longer questioning that. There are those who will not get help, accept help or even admit they need help. My brother-in-law is one of those so although I didn’t totally understand why – I knew I had to have him out of my life and my son’s.

    Thank you so much for tackling this difficult topic and allowing me to have a much better understanding, acceptance, clarity and peace with my decision 11+ years ago. Definitely sharing this!

    • Hi Barb,

      I’m honoured if I could help in any way.

      I agree that intent is everything. My father was a bit of an asshole (if you asked him, he would say the same) but his intent was never to hurt. That has made all the difference in the way I view him. I’m not exactly his biggest fan but I can forgive a lot because I know he was ill.

      But in the same way, people who hurt others, know they’re hurting them and refuse to try to get help, well, they don’t get nearly so much compassion from me.

      – Natasha Tracy

  160. My advise has always been this: If what you are doing is helping your mentally ill relative (Even if it is hurting your own life) you can justify it. But if what you are doing is not helping them and hurting you, then stop.

    Here is info I’ve collected on how to help a family member with mental illness
    http://mentalillnesspolicy.org/coping/coping-tips-mentally-ill.html
    and
    http://mentalillnesspolicy.org/coping/better-care-mentally-ill.html
    and
    http://mentalillnesspolicy.org/coping/symptoms.html

  161. Finding your writing is one of the greatest gifts to my life in a long time.

    Sometimes having to leave someone who is mentally ill is doubly necessary if – like us – you are someone who is also struggling to survive and thrive with a mental illness. Painfully for me, it was my mother I had to leave, and I stayed far longer than I should have for my own well-being and safety. But we live in a society that puts mothers up there next to ‘God’ and neither shall be forsaken, no matter what.

    My mother was never properly diagnosed. She was treated for depression all of her life but displayed obviously as bipolar, as am I. She would never admit to her rages or violent and intimidating behaviours to her doctors and we were never allowed to talk about the abuse. I was threatened constantly to keep secret the times she tried to drown me and smother me with pillows when I was very young and rescued by my father. I was warned never to explain that I wore turtlenecks to school in May and June to hide the bruises when she’s tried to strangle me in rages. Most of us likely know that giving only antidepressants to people with bipolar disorder worsens episodes of mania, and I’m sure I’ve seen lots of proof of that.

    By the time I was in my twenties and my life was in the gutter and I was either going to get better or die, I pulled away from my family and the many drugs I shared with my mother and changed my life completely and got help. When she consistently tried to drag me back into the drug use and anger and fear I had to leave her. My family told me I had to stay with her or they’d all leave me and I’d have no family. It was me or them. I begged for understanding and compassion but it fell on deaf ears. I’m without family still today 14 years later. She died the year I separated from her, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing. If I stayed she would have taken me with her.

    We talked on the phone a few times before she died and we made our peace. She apologized for what she’d done to me as a child and said she couldn’t stop herself and I told her that I understood even then that she couldn’t. I knew it. I said there was nothing to forgive.

    My family tells me I’m a heartless bitch with no feeling for anyone. The truth is I went on to raise a daughter with severe brain damage and autism and after living with my mother I could easily accept that she was unable to be different than she was and not to take my daughter’s behaviour personally and to love her when she was being loveable and to love her when she was totally uncharming too, knowing that she was not at peace at those times and to have compassion for her. I was an adult then and need not fear my child as I had feared my mother.

    When my daughter died I grieved her desperately, as I did my mother, but as with my mother’s death, I knew they were both at peace from their mental and emotional anguish. In my heart I believe there is a kind of heaven somewhere and when I said goodbye to my daughter I told her to go find my mother there and she would be well and not alone. My mother made my life a hell on earth in the most shocking ways imaginable for nearly 30yrs, and how I hated her for most of those years, but I I knew that when her suffering ended I believe that there is nothing left of her but compassion and my daughter is well with her.

    We can leave, but don’t need to leave with hatred. When my suffering ended at her hands, there was nothing left of me for her but compassion. I hope others can find their own way to peace.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      Wow. I mean, really, wow. Thank-you for sharing that. I believe other people could be greatly helped by hearing about your story.

      I believe strongly in compassion, kindness and understanding but I think you take these concepts to a new level. I can only hope that were I in the same position I would be able to be so gracious. It’s really inspiring to hear you talk about walking away with love in that way.

      Thanks.

      – Natasha Tracy

  162. I found your blog through Google because for 52 years, I’ve felt guilty that I can’t be around my own twin brother because of his mental illness. We were adopted by my aunt & uncle when we were 3 days old (my birth mom & adopted mom were half-sisters). As a child there were signs that something was wrong with my brother, & the more my parents tried to get him help, the worse it got. As a teenager he had violent mood swings, so it ended up that our whole lives were revolved around HIM & what HE wanted, even if it meant hurting the rest of us. I would make the Honor Roll in school & do all I could to help my parents, but they couldn’t make a big deal out of that because it would throw my brother into a violent, jealous rage. School was also hard because since it was my TWIN brother who was acting out & getting into trouble, everyone (students & teachers) thought I’d be the same way, too – & when I wasn’t, they couldn’t figure me out! When I graduated from high school, my mom put a lot of pressure on me to stay home & help her take care of my brother, which essentially meant giving up any kind of a life for myself. I prayed & agonized over it but finally decided to leave home & go to college, which my Mom resented for a long time. Daddy died when we were 25 after a 20 year battle with cancer. By then I was married & my husband & I tried to help Mom when we could, but my brother never left home. Nine years later, Mom died. Before she passed she had asked me if I would take my brother into my home & care for him. By then I had a 2 year old child & I really felt I couldn’t have her around him, as violent as he was. I refused. She became angry with me & she died before we could talk things out. Then while we were planning Mom’s funeral he asked if he could come live with me. I said NO. Fine, he said, I’ll ask your husband since HE’S the head of the house. His response was HELL NO. So he got all wild-eyed & violent & said he never wanted to see me again. Inside, I was thinking, YAY! So after the funeral we parted ways. I hadn’t heard from him until 17 years later he contacted me on Facebook. I knew why — he wanted me to take him in. Again I said no, that I wanted nothing to do with him whatsoever. He wrote back, WHY???? I couldn’t handle his innocent routine anymore, so I told him that he’d made my life, Mom’s & Daddy’s lives HELL all these years & he STILL had this entitlement attitude, blaming us for how sucky his life turned out & wanting us take care of him while he said on his fat behind & did nothing. I then said I never wanted to hear from him ever again & blocked him off my Facebook. I knew I did the right thing & I STILL felt guilty! But your blog has helped me make peace with that today. I will no longer feel guilty for not helping someone who doesn’t want to be helped. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • Hi Rennie,

      It sounds like you’ve definitely been through the wringer with mental illness in the family. I know what it’s like, believe me. And you have been in impossible positions that no one would feel good about.

      But I would like to congratulate you on putting yourself and your family first. You and they are important and sometimes they _should_ come first no matter what.

      I think it’s understandable that you have felt guilty, even if you logically know you probably shouldn’t. If I have helped you with that in any way I am honoured.

      Thank-you for sharing your story.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • Thanks, Natasha, for your kind reply. I guess deep down inside I knew what I had to do but my Mom, who I’m sure felt it was somehow her fault that he was mentally ill (& it was something you didn’t talk about anyway), felt she had to take care of him. I just didn’t feel that way, especially after being the target of his violent rages. I’m not sure what his diagnosis is. I’ve heard that he has schizophrenia or bipolar disorder — but like you said, HE feels everyone else in the world is screwed up but he’s just fine.

        Another thing I’m still struggling with is associated with the stigma of mental illness — that because I’m his sister, & a TWIN sister besides, I’m mentally ill, too. In my hometown, it seemed that EVERYONE who knew my brother automatically assumed that I was just as “crazy” as he was. Then when I didn’t act “crazy”, they couldn’t figure me out & had nothing more to do with me. I’m now divorced & my ex-husband’s family STILL casts it up to me that I have a “weird” family — coming across that THEIR family (who, BTW, has a LOT of alcoholics) is a lot better than MINE. I know it’s something I have to deal with for the rest of my life, but I always feel I’m on the defensive here. Any suggestions on how to handle this would be appreciated. Thanks!

  163. Sounds like my dad, and that’s so damn sad. I’m sick myself, but I know I’m sick, I’m not blaming anyone and I’m seeking help. My dad not so much and it kills me, literally makes me physically sick to see him and know that he needs help and won’t get it. After 29 yrs of living with him, I say enough is enough, but my mother just won’t give up and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, No…i’m lieing I know its a bad thing because we all suffer because of his insane abusive ass. I’m tired of his shit and I say it’s time to say goodbye.

    • Hi Cristina,

      That’s difficult. You’ll get no argument from me. I think there’s a special kind of pain in knowing that you have to accept help for your own illness while others continue to go about causing pain. Especially when that person is supposed to be a role model for you.

      I know. My father was an alcoholic. My whole life. I eventually dragged him out of a pit a couple of years ago, but his brain had already died. But at that time I was completely removed from him. I had said goodbye to his painful ways.

      Hopefully you can make a separation for yourself, emotionally or otherwise. You can’t decide how someone else will handle the situation but you can make the best choice possible for you.

      – Natasha

  164. HI Natasha i find ur blog very inspirational and real, you actually talk about the desire to self harm and sometimes even die but somehow u seem to get thru it. This post brought tears to my eyes cuz i have an alcohol problem, currently not drinking, but i live in fear of relapsing and throwing away everything in my life and even worse, having the people who i love give up on me. Maybe i’m not mature enough emotionally but i think there’s more to it than just wanting to get treatment in the case of drugs or alcohol. Sometimes in the fog of depression we abuse alky/drugs and the helping hand from a loved one brings us right back to our senses. The thought of people giving up on me makes me shudder..

    • Hi David,

      Sorry I never got back to you in the holiday madness (if you will).

      You’re right, wanting it by itself isn’t enough. You need to do the work. I completely understand your fear of being given up on as I have that fear too. But I believe (perhaps, just hopefully) that if you want help and get help and work the help that people will stand by you. The people that sometimes need to be walked away from are those who are no longer trying. Those who refuse help. And this isn’t the kind of thing that happens overnight. It’s usually _years_ of this. Years of someone (often) abusing the people around them because of an illness. It’s not a simple slip-up and then people walk.

      If you read Cristina, below you, you can see. 29 years she has been through. That’s when enough is enough. Well, maybe a little before 29 years.

      Good luck on your path. Thanks for your kind words.

      – Natasha

  165. While I agree with your sentiment, I must say that from the point of a view of a person who is in recovery, the problem is never solely with the person who has mental illness. Mental illness is a family problem. If the person with mental illness does decide to pursue recovery and makes positive changes in their lives, often the family is unsupportive or are unwilling to face problems in their own lives. Also, your wording is extremely offensive: “There are at least a couple of bipolars, and likely a schizophrenic or two hiding in the wings.” We are people with bipolar or schizophrenia, not bipolars or schizophrenics. There is a difference. You wouldn’t say you had a couple of cancers in your family, would you?

  166. Natasha – thanks for putting this so well. There certainly are times when you have to say good bye. Mental illness is not fair and it hurts a lot of people beside the ones who are ill. Your kind of honesty helps those of us who love someone with mental illness gain the courage to look at our own lives honestly .

    Thanks – Lisa

  167. Wow, it’s serendipity I saw this today. I just had to cut out a drug addict out of my life because in the 7 years I knew him he talked big about getting clean, went to countless rehabs and would always go out .

    You have to want to get better, whether it’s from an mental illness, or something like recovery from drinking or drugs, or even to loose weight. If you don’t want it all the help in the world is not going to help.

    I found stopping drinking easy. It’s the recovery from bipolar that is something I have to take in baby steps, one day at a time.

    • Hi Susan,

      Yup, it’s all about wanting it. I consciously want help and I consciously work at not letting bipolar destroy my life. Makes all the difference in the world.

      – Natasha

    • I’m not really sure your point here Buzz. If it’s just a flip comment, well, as you wish, if you are actually suggesting something serious then you’re missing the point.

      – Natasha

  168. When my father stopped speaking to us, all of us, I was devastated. The one person I had always called when I needed help wouldn’t take my calls. My dad is a wonderful, loving, funny, reliable man. I love him so damn much. But about a year ago, I had to write him a letter saying goodbye. My dad has untreated bipolar I with psychotic features. I remember the times he saw the little green leprechauns, or my dead great-aunt Ruth. And I remember the times he would sit and stare at the basement wall for hours. After trying to reconnect with him many many times, I had to finally realize he was never going to want a relationship with us again. Writing that letter let me tell him that I love him, he is always welcome back in my life, but I also got to tell him how much he hurt me. Saying goodbye to my dad was one of the singularly most painful experiences in my life. Now when I think about him, I try to remember that he is mentally ill. I try to remember that he still loves me everyday; he’s just broken.

    If anyone is interested, you can check out my blog at
    http://morethansurvivingbipolar.blogspot.com/

    • I know how awful it is to say goodbye. It rips your guts out. But sometimes, you just have to rip your guts out. I wish I could say something different, but I just can’t.

      – Natasha

    • I’m sorry to hear what your dad is going through. It sucks someone that you’re family with just changes into a whole new person that you do not want to see.

  169. I’m really sorry to hear about your brother, but you’re right, you have to protect yourself. My father-in-law wasn’t able to set appropriate boundaries with his alcoholic wife, and both of them–plus all of their children, including my husband–suffered for it. If my father-in-law had protected himself and left, he would have spared himself, and his three children, a lot of pain. (I actually wrote about this situation on my blog a couple of weeks ago if you have a chance to check it out: http://bit.ly/bzZnK7)

    • Yeah, that’s really the killer thing – if you don’t break ties when you need to, not only you, but people all around you suffer too. It’s short-sighted to think you’re only hurting yourself.

      – Natasha

  170. Yes, cruel I suppose is the word, but then, the world is cruel.

    And of course it’s not just mental illness, the same goes with addiction and any other illness. We all want to help the people we love, but honestly, if you sacrifice yourself completely, you’re no good to anyone.

    All we can do is hope the person will come to a place where they want help. And be there for them then. We’re powerless to do anything else.

    – N

  171. Wow.

    But it has to be said. And while it may sound – and feel – cruel, sometimes it really IS us or them.

    Doesn’t make it hurt less. But your Titanic analogy is perfect. And I applaud you being strong enough to know when enough is really enough.