~ My kids ~

Posted by Barb @amberpep, Apr 1, 2019

I've got 3 adult kids, 46, 44, and 34 … I moved to VA from MD about 4 years ago to be closer to them. I did not want to move, and it's been hard getting adjusted … very hard. I was in Frederick, MD for 30 years. Well, some of you may remember I have Bipolar 2 …. my therapist thinks my mother was probably Bipolar 1 and medicated herself with alcohol …. she died at 60 from cirrhosis. My kids know I see a therapist, now only once a month since he's in MD, and a Psychiatrist down here for medication. I'm pretty good with the medication, but my kids need to know more about this than they do. Since there may be a genetic component to it, I think they should know. I see traces of it in one of my girls … some up and down … not much, but I know it's there …. she just won't say anything. If I ask her if she's OK, she'll just say, "yea, just one of those days." With all of them, if I even try to come close to talking to them about this, somehow, I feel blown off ….. "OK Mom …. I know." It feels like they're saying "shut up." Maybe they do, but I don't know that. I just want to have an honest, adult to adult conversation with them about this … not to have them "pity" me, but so they know what's going on if they notice anything about themselves that's a bit "off."
Am I wanting too much? Should I just stay quiet about it? Maybe they do know more about it than I think they do – by reading, but I don't know that either. I just feel it's something they should know about this, and also my past growing up. Seems anything that isn't "up, up, up" can't be touched. So for now I've just let it sit, but it's hard somedays when I don't want to sound "chipper". Any input you all may have would be appreciated.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Depression & Anxiety group.

@amberpep I am sorry to hear you are struggling so much. My suggestion would be to ask both the Dr's you see for their opinions about talking to your daughters. Decide to tell them, all in the same group, so there is no need for you to stress 3 times. Let them know how this has affected your life. Not only seeing your mother's issues and what she dealt with also how it has affected your life all these years and how it continues to affect your life. Make very clear that your move down towards their neighborhood has not been deemed successful by you because you are unhappy and you do not feel you have the support that you had been promised for them. If indeed you had them. It's never easy talking about mental illness in a family and you're absolutely right. There are those who just don't want to hear anything about it. Nd realize there may be no way to know how they will react. For myself, personally, I think that it was very good for me to hear about how it runs in my family. Best of luck to you.


@amberpep . Just saw this and make a quick comment before going to bed. I'll respond more when I'm awake! I have lived a similar situation as you. Three adult sons who inherited varying degrees of depression, anxiety and bipolar issues from my family. I have handled each son differently in regard to even broaching the subject.
What I learned after all these years is that I can't have conversations unless they show an interest in wanting to talk and to listen . I have tried all sorts of ways to open discussion and found that I hit a brick wall. Worse, they would get angry and critical and say unkind things. This is a complex and critical topic and I'm so glad you posted it. Mental illness runs in families and we do need to find ways to talk to loved ones. Tough situation I have found.


Hi, @amberpep – good to hear from you. I thought that @parus @hopeful33250 @karen00 @crissdawn @dianrib who've talked with you in other conversations may also have some input about your considering whether to talk with your adult kids more about your bipolar disorder and a potential genetic component that could also impact them.


Good morning @amberpep– Amber I'm sorry that you have this tough call to make. It is tough but I feel that honesty is always better. I have a son and have always been honest about my health with him. I am a lung cancer survivor and he would be so hurt if I hadn't told him. I do believe that your children need to know this. It might not be as bad as you think in your telling. They might feel grateful that there is an explanation for what they are feeling, and get the meds that they might need. The longer you mull this over the more difficult it will be.


Hi @merpreb– Here is my suggestion for what it is worth. Write a letter to each of your children with whatever information you would like them to have. Put it in sealed envelopes, give it to them and tell them it is there for them if and when they are ready.
Best wishes

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