My Sister And Bipolar

I love my sister. I hate her mental illness. Perhaps it's understandable why someone would hate a debilitating mental illness that robs a loved one of their rational state of being, but I am also jealous of it. This insidious disease that consumes her at random, makes her suicidal, breaks her down and takes away her dignity. I have watched her stand her ground and lose numerous times. I am jealous for her of the time this disease robs from her. I want to spend time with my sister and not terrified on a suicide watch. I am sadden for her daughter who has the patience of an adult and has lost out on some of her childhood. I am jealous of other illnesses that are more easily treatable or even seen as illnesses; even today people do not see mentally ill as ill. 

I am angry at my parents and other family members for not taking the time to understand this illness and thereby granting it more power. I am angry at what passes for public medical assistance for a person declared disabled for mental illness. I am angry that she can not get the psychological help she needs. I  know Bipolar Disorder and the devastation it leaves in its wake. I live with it every day and the fear that I will get a phone call from some stranger or the police. I know Bipolar Disorder and I hate it. I hate having to make decisions that relate to adopting my eight year old niece if necessary. I hate making "arrangements" for the "just in case" scenario. I hate that quality time with my sister is sometimes staying up until 3 a.m. talking to her and telling her it will be okay and not knowing if I am lying. I know Bipolar Disorder because it stole my sister and I want it to give her back.


lockpick lockpick
31-35, M
18 Responses Feb 11, 2010

Add a response...My baby sister has been bipolar for many years. It became very apparent after the birth of her first child. It's scary because when manic, they are no longer the person you love. After having her second son the same thing happened and then for many years she was fine. Until one day there was an altercation at her work. This sent her into a full blown mania. She was able to get it together again and was doing really well. Two years ago she started again being manic off and on. She would have homeless people over her place and they were just taking advantage of her. She kicked out her boyfriend because he was trying to contain it. Finally he had to leave. Somehow her estranged son ended up getting her car and her job was starting to notice the change in her. They gave her many chances, but she would not go to the classes or take the medication. My parents were paying her space rent where she lived. She kept tearing the place up and saying it was other people were coming in doing it and taking her medicine. After she did this 10 or 20 times she had to leave there. The trailer was sold and Donna out. She was staying with some guy, but it was off and on and finally just off. Up to this point she had been beat up 2ce that I saw and I heard raped at least 2ce. In the past months she does not take any medications for her bipolar and is so bad it seems like she has become schitzophrenic (?). My husband and I live in Clearlake CA and my sister, parents and aunt live in Vallejo. She goes to my parents house and it's hell. Things disappear or are put in places that don't make sense. Now, she is mostly violent. My mom and aunt put her up in motels every day. My son told me a neighbor saw her raise her fist to my mom like she was going to hit her. My aunt told me just the other day that they were afraid that she was going to hit them. I told them they could get restraining order on her but no one wants to do it. My mom and aunt are twins and going on 85 years old, my father is 5 years post stroke and need total care and is blind. When Donna comes over there screaming at my dad and running around the house with a knife it's too much. I followed her and she finally stabbed a pack of hot dogs and said "take that" and left talking to herself. I did call the police station about a restraining order, but when they called back and my mom answers she plays it all down. This last weekend I confronted my sister and told her she is manic. Of course, she denied it and got angry and said she was going to sue me for something. My mom quickly took her away to yet another motel room. She has to go to different ones because she starts trouble and they don't want her there anymore. Anyway, I told my sister that day that I was going to get a power of attorney and try to get her committed so she can get back to who she is. Cops don't want to deal with the paper work I suppose. My son, who lives there to help out with my dad had to take two weeks off work to be there to ward off my sister. My mother called him to come and help as she didn't know what to do. She was afraid. I don't know, guess i'll go to the court house here and ask what papers I need to fill out and how to go about turning it in and where. I live in Lake county and she is in Solano county. Well, that's it for now. I guess because I'm to eldest they want me to do something to get her the help she needs. I pray so much for her because she has very dark energies right now,

you are a kind and understanding person. your sister is very lucky to have you.

Wow! Ditto!

Hi I have a sister with bipolar too. She was diagnosed with it 9years ago and her husband then got her help and on medication. She lives far away from me now so we only communicate by phone/txt/email which makes it hard. She cheated on her husband- left him and now refuses to admit she has a problem . The past 9 years she has directed a lot of verbal abuse to me and my children and husband. I have found it terribly upsetting and have distanced myself as I wanted to protect my children. She still texts/ emails me occasionally talks on the phone. It really pains and upsets me as we used to be close- is this really the disease- she says the most terribly things and then denies ever saying it? She refuses to get help - can't hold down a job and lives off the ex husbands money- he was rich. She has got a new partner who lives off her money who she verbally abuses and chucks out but he comes back. Our parents have died and I only have two brothers who say like my husband- don't listen to her but it is hard. Is there any way can encourage her to get help or go back on medication???

I have been diagnosed with Bipolar about ten years ago. It destroyed a marriage of seventeen years. She could not handle living with me. Of course I do not blame her. I am a minister but I am with a church group that is so very understanding.<br />
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My wife has the patience of Job when it comes to this disease. Of course I believe my niece has this disease too. I chose to live and I am choosing to live but she chose to kill herself on June 3, 2010. She too was good with drawing, painting, reading, and writing. She was very linguistic. <br />
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I am a pastor and I am trying to be more understanding of the people who come to this site. I of course do not agree always with their lifestyle, but I have learned to be less judging and more sensitive. <br />
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I feel this site has been a good thing to me for I am finding ways to deal with the things I do not like about me. I am wanting to learn from you and hope you can learn from me. I do love God and His people. I just want to careful that I am not judging the person and only the sin. God through Jesus Christ did not throw away sinners; he showed mercy and grace to them.

Your story made me cry. I have a sister who is bipolar too. She has had many episodes since she was 25. She is 44 now. I understand the disease alot better now than when she was living with me and had her first episode and was hospitalized. She has had multiple jobs which she does her best to handle but something always happens and she loses her job. This does take away her confidence and dignity. She is a very good person with a wonderful heart. She is compliant with her medications. She is very smart but the medications that she has been on has robbed her of her once excellant memory. She never got married and never had kids. She is a beautiful girl but her illness has made it difficult for her to form lasting relationships as desperately as she wants one. I had hopes of both of us having families and our children being close. I have mourned and continue to mourn the fact that her disease robbed us of this possibility. My relationship with my sister is close and I still continue to support her because I love her but I am also angry and saddened by the loss of the sister I had prior to the illness. I am also always worried and waiting for signs of her next setback.

my sister is bipolar and i dont know how to deal with it. every time she has an episode i feel like my whole world is falling apart. she is currently having her third episode. she has quit her job and moved into my parents house. my dad is recovering from a stroke and it breaks my heart because neither of them are well enough to look after her, especially because she is in denial about her problems and treats them and me like ****. i dont know how much is mental illness and how much is pure selfishness. i wish i could understand more, i am just terrified of what could happen and feel so sad and worried all the time.

Thank you for writing this....for explaining my own feelings for me. I also love my sister, but hate her disorder. However, I am also angry that she doesn't seem interested in her own health and well-being. She doesn't seem to want help..... Even if she doesn't want to get better for her self, or her family, she has two children who need a healthy, balanced mother.

I am sorry to hear about yoru sisters bipolar. Its not easy for anyone. You are a good sister ,I wish I had a sister like you.

Hi, I found out that my son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder only a few months ago. He was 36 years old. He was so talented, good looking, and had so much to live for. He played guitar in a band, loved the attention, and was loved by eveyone he came into contact with. He moved to Tennessee 4 years ago, I am still living in California. I had not seen him in the 4 years after he moved. He lived there with his wife of 18 years, and her mother, they had no children of their own. He had called me in April to tell me he had been diagnosed, and my first reaction was he needed to get a second opinion. I was not believing he could have this, because I never saw the signs, he was always so happy when we talked on the phone, and I didn't know much about the disorder. Well, he comitted suicide on July 10th, which was a total shock to me, my family and all his friends. I screamed and wanted to also die. Now I'm determined to find out what happened and why, because I don't have any answers yet. I don't want to put any blame on anybody, but I had no idea the seriousness of it, especially with the drugs they are given that make them suicidal. Why didn't he or his wife want to tell me what was really happening, so I could atleast go visit him and try to help him in any way that I could? I never got to say good-bye. I want others to know this disease should not to be ignored or kept secret. I wish I knew then, what I know now about bipolar, maybe my son would still be alive. I miss him so very much and I cry everyday and night. It's just not supposed to be this way. Please don't give up and get them the help they really do need.

Hi Lockpick,I understand how your feeling I have been there countless times through the years to the point you almost sound like me . I too had a sister with bipolar disorder. My concern is for you. I know the emotions that are attached to a sibling with bipolar disorder. For me the acceptance was the key but it took me a long time I had to learn limitations to learn to live my life in other words not to get too wrapped up in hers as much as I would have given anything in the world for her not to have this disorder nothing was going to change just because I wanted it to and so very desperately . I was as well angry for the changes that occured to her almost on a daily basis , how i wished so very much she wasn't bipolar how the good times were so good that when the bad times happened it just put me in a down mood. How I feared for her safety even from herself and waiting wondering if your going to receive that dreaded horrifiying phone call . Like it or not she affected me and my life , they do. We have come a long way since the days where the disorder was shun away or not talked about or embarrased that was my generation. In saying that please remember we will never truly understand, no one can, we dont walk in their shoes. I even started to get sick not mentally but physically over the stress of it all . I will tell you the mental health community can only help so much with someone with bipolarism there is unfortunatly no magic pill out there. In the meantime remember you , you are important too. Try not to take on too much. Remember she will never be what she was once or you would like her to be as much as your heart desires I wished my family would have been onboard as too simply so the stress was shared not just upon my head and alone with it. Some siblings or parents can't cope and its the soft hearted ones that get affected more because they want to be ' there' . I hope I helped a little .Josie

You must be a saint. Truly blessed. Because I have to tell you. I wish I could hate my sister's DISORDER. But sadly it is getting to the point that I hate HER. Why can't she get herself under control? It's been 15 fricken years since she was diagnosed. She has a Masters Degree and gets good jobs with good benefits. She has access to the best medical care. But what does she do? She CHOOSES not to take her meds. As a result, our family, her kids, everyone has to pay because she gets arrested, loses her job, etc. <br />
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I wish I ould be like you and love rher anyway. But quite frankly, I'm worn through.

I have a boyfriend that has bipolar and its difficult at times but we've got him back on his meds and he has a car hobby, which keeps him busy. God put us together for a reason to help each other. Im glad I met him. He has no children (which is good he has no patients ) but I have 2 grown kids and 2 grand kids and we both have plenty of niece and nephews!!! Hes great with all of them! I think with bipolar you really have to have the patients with that person if you dont then you just rub them off out of your life. Thats not right, everyone needs help in some way. NO ONE IS PERFECT!

Dear lockpick,<br />
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Your comment made me cry. I feel so sorry for you. <br />
My mother was diagnosed bipolar 23 years ago. I grow up being a victim of it and I went through hell until I decided to move from Brazil to England and never go back home.<br />
I love my mother but her illness ruined her life, my life, my grandmother lives and my brother and sister lives. <br />
You can not imagine how much I hate this illness and how much I hate the fact that people do not understand it.<br />
All of us (the children) suffer from panic attacks, high anxiety and stress.<br />
She tried suicide 4 times, she tried to kill me at least 1 time, she had been to all my jobs and schools doing awful things that made me target of serious bullying.<br />
She calls my brother and sister around 12 times a day, she blackmail us 24x7, last time I went to Brazil I couldn't speak to none else but her (if not she would make me regret it for sure), I spent 4 of 12 days in the hospital with her checking for any possible illness she could have ( because she had pains everywhere)...<br />
I feel sorry for my mother and we all give her all the help we could and couldn't afford to give her for another side we get no help from anybody else, we have to keep managing to not be fired from work (due to her visits or calls), to support ourselves and to be absorved by her and her world and the problems that results from that. <br />
My mother takes 12 pills a day, have a private paid psychiatrist, occupational terapist, phychologist without count about all the other doctors that attend her regularly for pains that doesn't really exist. <br />
She wants my sister, my brother, my grandmother and myself next to her all the time even in any circunstances... before I moved away I use to think that was no way out for me... I could study hard, I could work hard, I could do my best to help my mother but I would never get anywhere... because to much of my energy was drained constantly and never recharged. I hated my life and I hated to be alive... my sister and brother says the same and I feel so much for them.<br />
We also have to coupe with all the accusations that my mother is not unwell, her willness is something that we invented they say... your mother got worse since you moved away they say... if you give more attention for your mother... blablabla... we also have to coupe with her anger, blackmails, curses and hate against us because she doesn't believe she is ill... is all our fault. After few months hearing my story, my counsellour told me: 'Is unimaginable the mental health abuse children can go through'. And I say it is all thanks for my mother illness and the ignorancy of my extended family and of the most of the people that surronded us on that difficult time.<br />
I am so sorry for your niee, if your sister has the illness at its worse as my mother has, ope she can get adopted from a niece and stable family and be taken totally away from your sister. <br />
I feel for your sister too but at least she has the illness to protect her ( to take her away... to keep her high sometimes, to garantee that she will be looked after someone)...<br />
So sorry.

I, too, find the medical system is clueless when it comes to what it calls 'mental illness'. There is no understanding as to what is happening or why, no way to connect it to anything experiential or 'real'. Even the chemical explanations are confused and mostly guesses. I hope your family finds healing. Sometimes it is out there waiting in the most unlikely form.<br />

aces4battle,<br />
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She is my older sister by eighteen months. My younger brother, by 6 years, also suffers from mental illness. He was diagnosed as antisocial; a sociopath. How I came out of my significantly dysfunctional family without completely losing my mind is beyond me. If I were to tell that story I doubt people would believe it and I do not think a category exists for it. The level of suffering my siblings and I have endured is absurdly unbelievable. Yet somehow I am able to function, I am able to work, able to fight to move forward while I watch my sister and brother tear themselves apart as though they were attempting to destroy something lurking inside. In the mean time I, close friends, and family are caught in their wake and can only ride out each furious storm as it hits.

i love your strength and courage. i'm sure it means the world to your sister. :)<br />
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i pray for the day when you two can look back at these times from the other end of the tunnel.

I commend you for your determination to support and defind your sister, brovo-zulu. If you are older than your sister, I can understand the effort you want to do for your sister, that is what brothers do. This is worst the til death do we part reality.<br />
Please do the what if situation, you will not regret it, and may never use it.