Please note that the following text was translated from the original french wording by one of our staff members, please refer to the french version for a more accurate testimony.
A child's testimony as an adult
It's not easy to express in a few lines the difficulty of living with a person suffering from bipolar personality disorder. Nonetheless, we wanted to share our testimony: it's possible to navigate in a healthy manner with a father affected by this illness, so long as we manage to detach ourselves from the guilt that hits us during some painful moments that surround this psychosis.
As children, we were not always entirely aware of his state because our mother, wanting to protect us, would hide the truth from us. The older we grew, the more that we would become aware of the mental state in which our father was. Despite that, he was a loving father, capable of sharing with us the values that allowed us to progress towards our adult life.
As years went on, he was doing better and better. Sometimes, relapses forced him to go to the hospital, which he would never do of his own accord. After a few months of recovery, we would regain our father, in good health.
Today, he is no longer what he was. The more that years go by, the more that he loses the sense of his responsabilities, the more that he becomes aggressive and manipulative, the more that he tries to guilt us. Each of the five of us have forged a carapace, more or less thick, depending on our personalities. Some see him on occassions, others made the choice to no longer see him for now, and all of us are very respectful of each other's decision.
The greatest challenge that we face is our powerlessness to help him. Powerless, because he does not want to get help, he does not go seek the help that he needs. We do not ask a person with heart problems whether they want to receive treatment, we give it them! And God knows that these persons suffering from mental health problems, who have difficulty coping, don't feel the need to take charge, hence our powerlessness. What can we do for him, if he systematically refuses our aid?
All that we hope, is that maybe one day, he will realize his problem, he will accept his illness and he will finally take charge. Becayse this man must live through a great internal suffering, and by that same face, his surrounding suffers equally.
To regain our father in good health would be the greatest gift that we could receive. And we would cherish it for all of the years that he has left to live. We love you dad!