I’m terrified that I passed Bipolar on to my daughter.
It is a thought that consumed me during the pregnancy. It was the biggest reason I ever questioned having kids. And once I knew one was on the way I could not control my thoughts. Every few seconds of down time was instantly converted into pouring over whether or not my daughter would be bipolar.
My mother was diagnosed as bipolar when she was a teenager. I am not sure if that was the proper diagnosis, but she did have something irregular about her personality and mood. She might have had Borderling Personality Disorder which was often diagnosed as Bipolar in the past. Regardless, she had something, and it included depression, and she passed that on to at least me and probably some qualities to my sister as well.
I may have some mental health issues on my father’s side as well, with substance abuse and at least one “nervous breakdown” off record but nothing diagnosed to my knowing.
It isn’t surprising that I have a mental health issue given my family history. That is something doctors and therapists have been telling me for years. But the question I want to know is, how surprising will it be if my daughter remains unscathed her entire life?
I don’t think of it as often as I used to, but I’m still conscious of the fact that I may have given my daughter, the person I love most in this world, a ticket to board a rather rough train through life. My depression is all consuming. And while I have not had a period of depression to speak of since starting this blog, one is coming. That is one fact about Bipolar, whatever side of the coin you happen to be on you always know the other side is coming with reckless abandon. And when that depression hits I hope to have the energy to convey what it is like to those interested in hearing it.
I don’t want my daughter to watch me in my down times, let alone have down times of her own. But there is nothing I can do about this. She is here. She has the genetic make-up that she is going to have forever. If she gets depression or Bipolar, she gets it. All I can do is stand guard and help her when she needs it.
But it is extremely hard not to think of it as a death sentence. I’ve seen the look of fear in my father’s eyes as I recounted to a nurse the ways in which I attempted suicide in my past. As a father now I cannot imagine having to hear that. I never got close to completion because I was extremely afraid. I hope my daughter is stronger than me to fight it better, but I hope she is every bit as weak as me so she finds herself unable to inflict any real damage.