I was reading of an earlier post about telling or not telling others of you or your family members mental illness. I have lived with my husband's BP illness for over 30 years. I have also suffered from depression off and on all my life. In the beginning I had no one to talk with or to help me understand. My family had trouble understanding my husband and how I, as they put it "wore the pants" in our house. It was a very lonely time for me and I suppose for him. At one point in our struggles, I decided that mental illness was nothing to be ashamed of. It was than that I decided that I would help educate others about Mental Illness and BiPolar in particular. I have been doing that ever since. I also had 4 boys and I wanted them to understand their Dad and not to be ashamed of him. He was not just defined by his BiPolar, he was their Dad and he provided for our family the best he coud, and he was a wonderful person despite the BP. When they were in their teens, 2 of them were diasnosed with BP after very stressful times. I also did not want them to be defined by their BP. I have Epilepsy, others have Diabetes, etc. It is an illness just like any other except for the most part, others were not informed enough. People do not always understand but if they want to, I help educate them. If they don't then that is their problem and I hope they never have to deal with mental illness. Unfortunately despite all I did in my immediate family it did not sink in with my 3rd son Adam. Although he loved us, he was ashamed of his family to some degree and he suffered silently from depression and probabaly BP for over 6 years before finally giving up his battle on March 6th, 2006 as a victim of suicide. He left us a note telling us of his struggles (until then unknown to anyone else, even his closest friends and sweet girlfriend). He spent those years hiding his mental illness instead of letting those who loved him share the load and get some professional help. If only he saw it as an illness that could be dealt with and not something to be ashamed of and putting his efforts into that instead of running away. So even more so now I refuse to be ashamed of mental illness or the fact that my Adam was a victim of Suicide. So now I have 2 illness that are shunned by others and are misunderstood but I will continue to help others understand and how they can be of assistance. I have also helped my husband not to be ashamed of his illness and at times I will point out to him that it is his BiPolar talking and not him. We have successfully separated the 2. He does not mind me talking about it but if he did, I would talk about it anyways as it affects me also and my family. I spent too many years in silence and helplessness. I will get off of my soapbox now. Thanks for listening.
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