Friday, March 03, 2006

NAMI Meeting

The wife and I went to another NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill meeting last night. I always leave those meetings feeling optimistic and thankful. We sat in the "loved ones" support group, and after seeing what some of these parents are going through I am so thankful. It could be SO much worse. Our son Kyle is in great shape compared to some of the others. So many are schizophrenic, and that seems like such a cruel disorder. So many have been hospitalized or institutionalized, and he hasn't. In fact, most seem to be in and out of hospitals and treatment centers.

One parent asked if there was any possibility of a "normal" life. I wanted to stand up and say "yes there is, look at me", but I am still doubting that I'm really bipolar. I express these feelings to my wife, and she says "Puh-lease. How many examples do you want?" She reminds me of how easy she makes my life, and she does. She protects me from the myriad of things that I find difficult or impossible. She is always there for me. She is patient and understanding. But I digress. My life has been enjoyable and relatively trouble free. I have had many successes in my life, but I've also had some significant failures. I've never have a dime to my name, but I've never been hospitalized, and I've never been arrested. I fit in very well with society. Mostly. So obviously my bipolar is NOT NEARLY as severe as most.

I think back to when I was younger. Using drugs, abusing alcohol. I can't help but wonder if I'd been arrested or caught, if my folks would have sent me for rehab or evaluation. Wondering if that would have started a spiral like I've seen with so many people. I had it easy at home, my folks knew I drank, and more or less condoned it. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it was a far different world then. And I do believe as they do, that there is NOTHING wrong with moderate alcohol use for most people. Legal drinking age in our area was 18 at that time, and I drove drunk often. Very often. One unfortunate accident or incident at that time could also have caused a long-term spiral.

So am I just lucky that I've had a great life so far? Or is my bipolar so mild that I've not faced major issues? Or do I not even have it?

I'm still looking for the answers like everyone else out there.

7 comments:

jane said...

I think the answer to your 3 questions is: None of the Above.
I believe your AWARENESS is what has been your saving grace. While outwardly you say you aren't sure about having this disease, inwardly you know the signs & symptoms, see them in Kyle & probably acknowledge them subconsciously. So, in reality, you are looking out for your own good & mental well being.
What I like so much about you is you're open minded. Thats exceptionally admirable.

Jon said...

Thanks, Jane, that's quite a compliment.

Joel said...

I go through these phases, too, Jon. I find myself reading a book and I say something like "Why am I taking all these meds? I feel great. Why can't I just go out, do the 9 to 5 like everyone else, and throw the bottles in the trash?" I get so far as the door, then remember a bleak look, a nasty crack, a temper poorly controlled, etc. Or I see or read a blog by a person who thinks s/he can do without the meds.

And I take the meds.

gen said...

i agree 100% with jane on this one. :) she took the words right out of my mouth/fingers.

The Queen said...

Jon-

I think we all go through these phases...

Jon said...

Joel:
"...then remember a bleak look, a nasty crack, a temper poorly controlled..."
That is me exactly. And this is EXACTLY why I continue with the meds, for the sake of the people around me.

Thanks all, for your comments.

Maggs said...

i think i need to start going to nami meetings. i think it would help me and my family.