Last Friday, as she sat with me waiting to see my psychiatrist, my wife reminded me of a few things – most importantly, it’s not my fault.
I take full responsibility for my actions, I always have, but the illness that drives my compulsions was given to me – by my mother.
Even when we have moved on, and left the past behind, our subconscious remembers – mine remembers, and it can impact my thoughts, behaviors and choices today. It doesn’t ask for control, because of Bipolar Disorder it just takes it – and my subconscious is the remnant of a terrified and tortured childhood, and that is reflected in my depression and mania.
I am sorry for the pain my mother inflicted on her sister in throwing her away, but it gave me much needed confirmation; I was right about Pat all along …
A woman who can abandon her children is capable of anything.
Being her son is a life sentence.
Even when I am doing well, as I usually am, I’m not who I was born to be – years of physical and emotional abuse, neglect and abandonment killed that child as surely and effectively as if my mother had strangled me in my sleep.
The guilt and shame associated with having Bipolar Disorder is profound – we do things we should not do. We say things we should not say. We hurt people we love deeply and completely …
I take my obligation to remain well seriously, but even the best intentions don’t always produce the desired result …
So my wife reminds me:
It isn’t my fault
I am a good person
I am an amazing, incredible and wonderful father (her words, echoed by our children)
I am a loving and supportive husband
Despite all the pain my mother caused me, she did not make me like her …
a bad parent.
And that’s a win!