I was wondering if you had any non-bipolar siblings and how your relationship is with them?

I was wondering if you had any non-bipolar siblings and how your relationship is with them? Has your relationship been tarnished because of this illness?

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As far as I know, none of my siblings are bipolar. However one of my brothers has ADHD and my two sisters suffer from depression and anxiety.

As for my relationships with them, they have definitely not been tarnished due to my illness. With my sisters I think it has actually brought us closer. I’m the “baby” of 6 kids, but it’s funny how when they have questions regarding depression and anxiety, they actually come to me for advice.

However, being the youngest of 6 children, and also being an “after thought” in the child bearing process (meaning my closest sister is 5 yrs older and my oldest brother is 13 yrs older) I never really got much of a chance to tarnish any of the relationships as most everyone was grown up and moved out by the time I started to experience symptoms. I’m not sure that it is this way for all families.

I often feel as though I was raised as an only child. I mean my siblings were always there in the sense that they existed, but by the time I was 13 they weren’t really “There”. They lived in different cities and different states and had lives and families of their own. This was very difficult for me, but I never really let it show (if I could help it at least).

With my children though I definitely see the effects of my son’s Bipolar on his two siblings. They already know when to quietly go upstairs and stay under the radar when my son is raging. They already know that they have to be careful not to push his buttons. Even my five year old has like a “Pdog Rage Radar”. One day we were at the zoo and PDog went into a fit (because I asked him to eat his sandwich….the nerve of me!) and Chubbas (aka 5 yr old) picked up his stuff and calmly followed us where ever PDog ran. It’s like he went right into “Behave Mode”. I couldn’t believe it.

I worry sometimes about their relationships as they grow older, but I want to believe that by keeping everyone in my family informed and educated I will be able to avoid my non-bipolar children from becoming too upset over the things that PDog may do or say. *crosses fingers then knocks on wood*

Have any of you readers had problems maintaining your relationships with siblings? I’d love to hear other people’s experiences. Please do share!!!

12 thoughts on “I was wondering if you had any non-bipolar siblings and how your relationship is with them?

  1. My brother is not Bipolar. He has been very supportive of me and what I am going through. In fact, he was the first person (even before a doctor) to suspect that I was Bipolar. He does not treat me like a mental patient, but is very kind and loving to me. I cannot say that every sibling is as wonderful as mine is, but I certainly did get very lucky!

  2. I have to say that my relationship with my siblings was already established before my symptoms of and diagnosis of bipolar began. Has it changed since my diagnosis? in some ways, yes. My father was very much Mentally “disturbed” although never diagnosed with anything because he believed (and told us frequently growing up) that if you went to a psychiatrist that ment you were “crazy”. A little defensive maybe?!?! Anyway, My sister is 3 years older than me. My relationship with her has always been touch and go. We can go for months closer than close & then for the simplest reason we will not speak to each other for months. Since my diagnosis, our relationship has been strained. She speaks to me and I to her but it is on a “need to” basis. I have her nieces, which she loves as much as her own children and she is very much involved in their lives. So where they are concerned, we talk and for other things such as that we talk or spend time together but we are no longer close. She doesnt understand why i do the things I do. She things It is intentional and she takes offense to it and she doesnt care to understand my situation. She also has anxiety. and at times suffers from depression. she is treated for the anxiety but i dont think she has ever been treated for the depression. I have a younger brother who is a year younger than me. We have always been close. He has not always understood why i do the things i do, but he does listen when i try to explain myself. he listens when i try to educate my mother on bipolar and he tries to understand. He gives me the benefit of the doubt and he has always been there for me. The thing that concerns me the most is my daughters. My 8 year old (bug) is bipolar and it worries me the effect it/she will have on my 5yr old (bee). bee is very soft spoken and very affectionate and bug use to be the same way before she started having symptoms. now she is rough around the edges most of the time and distant and when she is manic she is bouncing of the walls or raging. when she is depressed she is uninterrested. she is either loving on bee so much she is practiclly hurting her or she is mad at her so much she might hurt her. sometimes she is leveled out and in the middle, but bee has learned to be constantly on guard around her and she has learned to watch for the warning signs of the start of a mood swing. I worry about their growing relationship. they have always been so close.

  3. I worry for my children in the same way. But so far it seems like they are very understanding of their brother. We let him know that “his brain is sick”. I hate saying it, but it’s really the only way to make a 5 and a 9 yr old understand. That way they know he isn’t that way on purpose. They still get frustrated, but they try hard not to.

  4. I wish I could say the same…that my children are accepting of eachother. I have two, a 20 yo girl child and an 18 yo boy child…the boy child is bipolar. My girl child as well as many other family members, do not understand. Even when presented with facts and data and literature and blah, blah, blah, my boy child is attention seeking and spoiled and a wuss. It’s so sad…my boy child is sick and he and I know it and he and I fight the demons every day. I have told him that some people will be supportive, if they are open to learned about the disorder, while others will happily live in denial…their “safe place”.

    Do I wish my girl child would accept that her brother is “different”? Sure! It would explain alot, in her eyes, if she would just open them and see! But we don’t have control over others. Just ourselves.

  5. I have a brother. He has no mental illness as far as I know. He is homosexual, but never has been in a long term relationship. When I was diagnosed with BP II, about a year ago-I’m 45-he and I had a falling out. But, my mother and I have a good relationship.

    I have 2 children. The oldest has inherited my Trich-compulsive hair pulling-broke my heart. My case is in full remission because of Effexor! Yes, for being rare. The drug does help some people with this rare disorder. I have a school age child and I’m praying, hoping and knocking on wood that she doesn’t inherit the Trich..

  6. I do not have bipolar, but my younger sister does (20 yrs old).

    I love her, but I have removed her from my life to protect myself. Because of her disorder, she has physically abused me (tried to hit my head with a 5-foot stick one time before my dad grabbed it in time), cut my clothes w/ scissors, goes in rages in the middle of the night, etc. It was crazy on a daily basis and I couldnt take it anymore. I will only be in her life on 2 conditions: 1) she gets counseling, and 2) she starts meds & stays on them. Those are my only 2 conditions.

    I know some people will not understand. People say, “but shes your flesh and blood!” or “thats so sad, how can you cut her out of your life?” or “she’s still your family, you should be there for her.” Well, those comments were from people who never grew up with bipolar siblings. I understand their sentiment, but they are asking me to stay in harm’s way. Sometimes, I get resentful because people only care about what my sick sister needs from me, despite the abuse that I receive. It’s like “who cares if you get abused? your sister is sick! you should forget about yourself, put up with the physicaly & verbal abuse, because she’s sick!”

    I feel bad for my sister & I feel sad for her that this disease changed her from a sweet little girl to a raging monster. I know that it is not her fault. But after 20 years, I have had enough and I have to take care of myself.

    I’m ranting. I just feel like noone can really understand unless they have a bipolar sibling. Even some parents of bipolar kids will not understand because mothers will go to any lengths for their children. I, however, choose to take care of myself and move on with my life. I’ve been through addictions, depression, and anxiety disorders because of her bipolar. So I think people need to stop acting like my sister’s bipolar disorder doesnt affect me because it does. I think people need to realize that I am not the superwoman sibling that they want and expect me to be for sentimental reasons. I am not a professional counselor. I do not know how to handle my sister’s bipolar. So people need to stop judging me for cutting her out of my life.

    This is not directed at anyone on this site. I guess I am venting for all the people who have made ignorant comments to me.

  7. I’m sorry for sounding so bitter.

    I truly wish everyone out there with bipolar the best. My anger is not directed at people with bipolar. My anger is directed at the bipolar disorder itself for ruining lives & at ignorant people who judge others for situations they have not been in themselves.

    I dont think it’s fair that my sister got bipolar & I didn’t. I feel very sorry for her, but after years of trying to help her, I realized that there is nothing I can do. I was only growing more & more resentful.

    Anyways… end rant.

  8. Your bitter and anxiety are absolutely appropriate. As someone who does have bipolar I can say I would NEVER expect someone to remain in my life if I wasn’t taking care of myself. The two things you as of her are more than reasonable. You can only be there for a person so much, but eventually they have to learn to be there for themselves as well.

    Rant away love. That’s what this site is about, and you didn’t offend me in the slightest. I actually applaud you for trying as hard as you did. I can tell you love her, but you are right, you should never put yourself in harms way. These other people may not understand, but as someone who does, I totally support your decision. And maybe one day she will start taking better care of herself and you will be able to be in her life again.

    <3 hugs <3

  9. Like “Nobody’s Angel” my relationship with my sisters was formed before the BP symptoms kicked in. I’m the baby of the family and there are 6 years between me and my eldest sister, and only 15 months between the middle sister and I. I adore my sisters and tolerate their quirks, and I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how they feel about me and BP. Like Marybeth, my symptoms and diagnosis came when I moved away to University and my sisters were thousands of miles away. Because of the physical distance between us, it didn’t really affect them, and since we don’t live in the same provinces even now, it still doesn’t affect them or our relationship. My eldest sister and I don’t discuss it at all, but it’s not a disrespect or avoidance thing. She’s a listener and not a pryer. My middle sister is incredibly interested in the biology, chemistry and pharmacology side of it. She listens if I have an anxiety attack over how BP is going to affect things like whether it’s responsible of me to have kids, etc. and kindly talks me down. When we’re all together for holidays, I’m pretty sure they just mistake my cranky, snappy, poison-tongue days as nothing more than a ridiculously bad mood. Everyone’s entitled to an off-day, but they don’t label me or my behavior.

    And to all the siblings, wives and husbands and parents here who support loved ones with BP, keep up the good work. We can’t do it on our own and from my experience, it’s my siblings who keep me grounded and influence me to keep things in perspective. You sacrifice a lot – because we do – and I appreciate it.

  10. I have 2 younger sisters, and my relationship is kind of on thin ice. I belive my one sister is OCD and the other I think could very well be bipolar. But I cant talk about my disease with my sisters. I’m on disability and they think it’s a bunch of crap. My youngest sister doesn’t believe in taking my medication. When I was in the hospital, my youngest sister wouldn’t see or talk to me, my middle sister would talk to me on the phone, but wouldn’t come see me. So for me, it’s like I have to hide my bopolar from them. And if I am having an episode, usually manic, I am just trying to get people’s attention. Its “all in my head”. well duh, yes it is. So, my sisters arent diagnosed with anything, but I see it there. And as far as they are concerned, I don’t have anything wrong with me. I wish I had their support, but I’m on my own in my family.

  11. Well, I just am coming to terms with being bipolar. It is awful. I always thought there was something wrong with me, and turns out there is. I was just always called a troubled teenager and I am adopted. So nobody in my entire family has any mental problems.

    So I feel like the black sheep. I am angry, I lash out, I talk super fast, I interupt people. Then, I don’t want to get out of bed, I can’t sleep, I want to drive my car into a tree. It’s this awful push and pull that nobody could understand.

    I have the best family in the entire world. My mom supports me and wants me to get help. So. I try. I will. I will be the person I know that I can be. But having nobody in my family with this problem, I feel like the outcast or black sheep yet again!

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