Nothing can describe the loss of a family member or a dear friend, but the loss of a child changes everything... forever. I lost one of my sons as an infant, and another at age twenty-five.
As a young man I had lots of dreams, and many of them I saw fulfilled, but my biggest dream was for a large close-knit family, and I started early in life to make that happen. I envisioned having a large homestead, a grand place where I would raise my children, a place where they would return with my grandchildren for holiday visits or extended stays. At age 26 I went out on a limb and bought a run down, 7000 SF, historic landmark mansion, sitting on three acres on a bluff, overlooking what was, at one time, the most vibrant part of the city. It was my intention to restore that grand monstrosity to be the homestead for my family. It took ten years but I did it! Built in 1870, twelve foot ceilings, six marble fireplaces, an underground tunnel, twenty rooms of grandeur in the heart of the historic district.
I know it doesn't take "things" to build a family, but that beautiful structure was a symbol of something for me. It represented my greatest desire, a large, vibrant family. I poured my heart and soul into that dream.
That was thirty years ago. Sickness and death suddenly fell upon my young family. The dreams that I had fell into disrepair. My life went into a downward spiral. I walked away from that house in despair and anguish. I set fire to everything in my life. Recently, I revisited the place and it represented what had transpired. The beautiful home fell once again into disrepair. It looked like no one had touched it for thirty years. It just sits on that bluff, empty and broken. The symbol of it all resonates through me tonight.
I think back to the things that people told me. "It will get better with time." It doesn't. "They are in a better place." Really? They belong with me! "It will get better for you". In some ways it has but for many years my life was a train wreck. I've adjusted but I've never really been right. 15 years ago I was finally diagnosed with bipolar. I have certainly had all the symptoms but it kinda all started after my losses. Bipolar is susposed to be something you are born with, unlike PTSD. At any rate, loss can screw up your brain chemistry. I'm convinced of that. And it can be a long road back. For me it has been a lifetime. I carry my sons close to me, as close as if they were still here. I love them dearly and wish so badly that I could have given them the life they deserved.
Or not. Lately I have been thinking how well I have been doing while not working. Thinking I don't actually want to go back to work next year. My last therapist and my mom both agreed that work is good for me as it gives me structure. But Ive found a routine at home and there is plenty to keep me busy. Plus I'm on disability so I don't really need a job. My psychiatrist is also happy with how...
I am new as of today with the group. I'm 63 years old and have been battling mental health disorders since I was a teenager. Becoming bipolar for me was a progression from depression that occured at some point in my life. Just happy that there is a site like this that now exists. For most of my life it has been a silent battle with not much support or understanding. It has been a long dark...