My sister and I both have bipolar, we were diagnosed roughly 10 years apart, her diagnosis precedent of mine and both of us exhibit differently than the other. She has hypomanic and depressive states and I run mixed and manic and although we have a disorder in common I can not begin to fathom what she is going through; nor she me. I have found that I can relate somewhat by dealing with our commonalities and that is it. We are two very different people and so how we cope is drastically different.
When I was diagnosed I ran the gamut, just like everyone else. Denial, anger, fear, uncertainty to acceptance and then to taking charge. My sister got stuck somewhere, somehow along that process. My brother, (late) grandmother and myself saw it and it has reached a point where no one can miss it. We have tried to help her, endlessly, but the issue is she doesn’t want our help and so there is nothing that we can do except witness her escalating self-destruction. I am sad and frustrated and incredibly angry with her.
I am angry because she is continuing to take the lazy way through life. She likes being a victim. She likes having people take care of her rather than learning to take care of herself. Why take responsibility for your actions when you can so easily blame someone else when your life explodes. She has a long list of people she blames for the way her life has turned out and she has never been on that list and she should be at the top of it. She is the greatest common denominator in her life.
I talked to my brother this morning and found out that she is episodic again. She recently tested positive for drugs (recreational, not her meds), cussed out her therapist and psych doctor (she changes them as frequently as clothing) and poured her prescription drugs out the car window as she was driving down the Interstate after her appointment. She has a new and inappropriate boyfriend and has left my parent’s house to move in with him. This one comes just months after the last inappropriate boyfriend. She has lost another job and her benefits. She is stressing out our already stressed out parents.
My parents aren’t perfect (who is), I know I rant about my parents (who doesn’t) but I long ago realized that their sole purpose was to keep me alive until I could keep myself alive and they did that successfully. My point for dishing the dirt of my childhood (and my disorder) isn’t for pity; it is to share the lessons I learned from whatever childhood wound I had in a way that is true to myself and (hopefully) relatable to others and hope that it helps in some way (for all involved). I tried to help her to see this and I wish that she had…
I wish that my sister could somehow see that she long ago forfeited her power and take steps to reclaim it. I wish she understood that life is messy and it isn’t fair and only she has the power to change it into something better. I wish she understood that life is a journey that she has to walk alone but she doesn’t have to be lonely along the way. I wish she would allow other people to help her without turning that help into a toxic brew. I wish that she would utilize the tools that are available to all of us to figure out who she is, why she functions the way she does and take the necessary steps to be her best version of herself. I wish she would grow up…
I realized years ago that I had enabled her more than helped and I withdrew. She is my sister and I love her enough to let go and wait and hopefully one day she will realize she has to be the one to put in the effort and do the work if she is going to turn it around. I can support, I can help but I can’t do it for her and hopefully she realizes this before it is too late.