We Are Deep In the Heart of Texas

Nomadic seasons of farming adventures with nature thrown in to include; a pinch of family, snippets of friends, counting our blessings, paying IT forward, home school, and the spicy things I decide to rant about.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Truths: Bipolar Mania

This may ramble and drift a bit but here goes:

Looking back and talking with family members; my onset with bipolar was in childhood.  I had uncontrollable rages as a small child and sudden outbursts of crying jags.  I would hit and throw things - my mother not knowing how to deal with me; tied and gagged me to a pole out in the backyard.  This was a story told often at family gatherings and very humiliating.  I was very young around 3 to 4 years old.

Later, my parents divorced and custody was given to my mom with visitation with my father.  This alone is traumatic to a child and then the regular beatings took place. Yes, it was beatings not just spankings.  Eventually, I was brought under the control through fear of getting hit or worse. 

Who wants to be hit or debased for crying................ At the age of five, I learned how to lie to avoid being hit by lying very well.  I also learned early; men were not to be trusted as my mother married again soon after her divorce was finalized.

Funny this is; we were told as children.  'ALWAYS tell the truth, I may get mad but --- not as mad if you lie to me.'  No matter what though, we were hit for small thing like: unclean rooms, grades, notes home from teachers, toys left out, lost items, dirty dishes, dust, laundry being left on the floor and all the other house keeping chores we were given.   (Talk about a mix messages, why tell the truth if you are still going to be humiliated or hit?) 

I used to think, I was the problem.  I was the cause of my mother's anger issues. That if I was only good enough; she would not be bothered by me quite so much and could possibly be happy.  Little did I know then but, I suspect she is bipolar as well.  It explains a lot --- just I don't excuse it.

Another thing that drove my mother to distraction was tears.  How can a person expect an upset child to stop crying if they are being spanked? Yet, there were times I was in trouble -- with that sickening feeling in my stomach -- trying to stop crying -- only to be hit again -- such a vicious cycle. 

Here is a kicker folks,  persons with bipolar are highly creative, outgoing, charming, and bright.  People pleasers in a crowd --- look around --- we are every where.  In a crowd of folks usually the loudest or obnoxious folks are in the middle of rapid cycling and God forbid they are drinking.  Those folks who self medicate to excess have a tendancy to become abusive or do self harming behavior they pay for later in life (drinking / driving).

One thing is becoming apparent in our family home, we may have a son with bipolar disorder.  Seems there is a genetic connection and I may have passed this on to him.  I am not feeling unhappy about it though I do worry.  I do know I am better equiped to deal with the highs and lows than a 'normal' parent and he is my child.  I waited forever to have children mostly out of fear of harming them.

At age 16, I made a conscience decision not to harm my own future children.  I was laying on the floor whilst my mother sat atop me choking and hitting my head against the floor.  I made the decision then to get out of her house and make my own way.  It was the best decision I ever made.

Though, my story with my mother in her house ended basically there on that floor.  I was not diagnosed with bipolar until I was in my late twenties.  How I survived in such a strict environment on active duty for 20 years is shocking to me as I look back but, I did it. 

Another thing, I am blessed to have our children and will teach him ways of coping even doctors are not aware of; 'remember that creativity?'  I am so very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to raise such lovely boys though I am flawed.  Just now, we will have another platform from which to form a tighter bond. I am forever in debt and blessed our boys come to me when they are in pain or trouble.  This is all possible because of my husband and Our Creator.

Peace and Joy be with all who pass here


Cat said...

That is a pretty astounding story... I have an in-law that is bi-polar, I have always been concerned about the 'self-medicating' part, which she seems very, very adept at. I have no idea what it would be like to be bi-polar, and thank all that's holy, I have never been in an abusive home. That being said, I also think the creativity part is the gift that I see in her. The problem, she goes up and down so much, there is just total crazyness for everyone else, kids included.

It gives me something to think about, if nothing else. Hugs.


Melodie said...

Your story is a triumphant one! Although, I can imagine it might have been difficult to share.I had much of the same experiences only it was my dad...I still am not able to talk about my childhood as openly as you have.It was not passed to me but to my sister,who self medicates and spends a good part of her life in the "gutter".I truly believe her life is so bad because of the bad child hood and no one to help her learn to cope. If your son does have bipolar he is blessed to have a mom who has the ability to cope and understands the difficulties he will face.

Nekkid Chicken said...


The medication route is not an easy one either because, they too can cause the fluxes. I have personally been on wellbutrin, paxil, prozac, zoloft, and many others. Those either had side effects worse than the disorder or made my brain zip and zag. Counselling helped me recognize the signs I was about to go off the deep end; then I had to work it out myself.

Hope your in-law finds some inner peace or at least another who can help her. HUGS back :O)


Nekkid Chicken said...


I feel I have to share to get 'it' out so, I can make room for other things.

Also, it is just a personal history to later help my sons understand the sometimes erratic mood swings I have.

I do hope your sister finds someone near her to help her. It took me a long time to be able to even type my thoughts and memories down. It has been 16 years since I was diagnosed and I am just opening up.

Somethings I could not even tell to therapists will be written here to help others find a way to deal with the ZIPPING, ZAGGING and Guilt of not having control.

I just hope you find your healing because things just have a way of bubbling up when least expected.

To me,

This is an exorcism so, I may prepare to better help my own child.

Hope that makes sense,

Jabacue said...

Hi Mal! This is an eye-opener for me....I am very familiar with bipolar illness, for lack of a better word.
My mother was bipolar most of her life. She was a bright woman and could be creative between her high and low spells. You see, she wouldn't take any meds to help her through the 'rough' times.
She was 'high' probably 50 % of the time, 'low' 40% and 'level' 10 %. She had 9 kids and as far as I know one was (he committed suicide) bipolar.

It was a difficult upbringing for all of us but my Mom wasn't mean or angry. She was a very gentle, caring woman.....except when she was VERY high and 'on a tear'!

Thank you so much for this Mal. My family does not talk about this as my Dad trained us all well to 'keep this family secret' well hidden.

I admire your courage and intelligence about this issue. You are an incredible human being to juggle all the things you do seemingly so effectively.

Knew there was something about you I liked!!!

Jennifer said...

You are very courageous to tell your story. My best friend is bi-polar, she has her highs and lows but I love her all the same!

Nekkid Chicken said...


'Mental illnesses' were such a taboo to talk about just 10 to 15 years ago; let alone decades ago. I remember basically picking and choosing which facts to give to my therapist because such a confession could have ended my career and negated my benefits.

It must have been especially tough for your mom dealing with bipolar with so many kids. I am sure you have some issues you are stilling trying to work out in your head as to why. That is why I am writing; to explain WHY sometimes I can not explain myself.

It's a scarey fact that approximately 1 in 5 people with bipolar commit suicide. Since more men than women are success at completing suicide; I am now expunging what I can to better assist my son. So I hope ya'll bear with me as I write. Sometimes my passages will be disjointed and not orderly.

I am too like and respect you.

Nekkid Chicken said...

Thanks Jennifer for commenting. It takes a courageous person to stick by a bipolar friend as we tend to be erratic. Hugs to you!

Sharon said...

Please ignore any misspellings, I can't see for bleep. I'm sure you know my brother was bipolar, he was not dxed until he was in his 40's we didn't know about that stuff much then. I was raised in a volatile atmosphere, Dad was bipolar also - we are just guessing here, no documented anything, but he was horribly abusive both physically and verbally. I saw enough coffee cups hit the ceiling and that type of thing, to figure it - he never said anything bad to me, so I think it can be managed to a point. I was 15-16 when he was going to punch out Mom's lights and I got in between them and told him to try and hit ME. He was not expecting this and the situation died then. You know how very artistic my Dad and Tom were - I believe the genetic codes are common.

I believe more studies should be made on this subject.

Hang in there, Mal!


Judy's Corner said...


You know how I feel about all of this. I think your son is so lucky to have you, someone who knows and lives the world he is living. Truly, this has to be a blessing is some sort of way.

Many of us have lived through abusive homelives, though not always as children. What we learn, those skills that helped us survive, can be very helpful.

I hope you and your son will have both supportive doctor/therapists, and family members. Becoming a teenager is a difficult for most kids...add the bipolar disorder, and it can only be more challenging.

My experience with those who suffer from the disorder is that they are, indeed quite talented/creative... Your awareness of this, and your nurturing your son's creativity will, I imagine, help him deal with his world.

And yes, I think it is great you are getting out there... you help others as well as yourself in the process.

Take care.

mixednut555 said...

I'm here for you, my Sistah.


Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

Oh my, yes, it's in my family too, my father was bipolar but his was the type that got worse as he got older. Because Daddy was bipolar, my mother was depressed. It effects everybody in the family. Daddy wasn't physically abusive but certainly mentally abusive.

Thanks for sharing your story Mal. So often we feel like we're the only ones who have suffered/suffering through such a terrible disease.

It especially breaks my heart when children have such sad childhoods.

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

"One of the main reasons to tell your story is to make it easier for someone else to tell theirs."

Elizabeth Laine said...

What a heart warming positive story from all the negatives you have endured all through your childhood. Indeed, peace and joy and God bless you for your choices. My story is very different although I shared the beatings aspect. Love to share my true story with you by way of my book, A butterfly landed an eagle. Its available from amazon. I survived, thanks be to God.

polly's path said...

what a story, Mal. You are such a survivor, and you inspire me.

Nekkid Chicken said...

Thanks ladies for commenting. Was out and down with the crud. Seems hubby brings home more than a paycheck. LOL