I do not have bipolar myself but when I say I understand to a certain degree, I mean it.
When I was growing up I knew there was something wrong with my Dad. He was never comfortable with people or with his emotions. I grew up with him moving from house to house, not working and coming round on weekends to watch him play online poker or lie on the sofa watching TV, drinking and smoking his life away.
When I was 13, I asked my Nana why my Dad was like that, why he never let me have friends round and why he never took me or my brother anywhere. She told me that he was ill and that he suffers with Bipolar. Now as a child, Bipolar isn’t something that you deal with on a regular basis so I had no idea what it was. She explained that he has manic depression and that his mind and his thoughts aren’t like anyone else’s. He’s unique.
After learning this, I started researching and asking questions. I learnt that he has dealt with this most of his life, from living on the street from 15 and being abused at a young age from his parents, it wasn’t surprising that he was not fully happy.
I confronted him one day. I regret to say I reached my limit of what I could take from him: the late nights, the mood swings, the laziness. I shouted, I cried, I wished for another dad, one who cares and one who actually want to spend time with me.
That night we talked for the first time. He explained everything to me, I explained to him how I feel and how it affects me. It was one of the best nights of my life.
Since that day he has tried his best to be a Dad to my brother and I. He can now manage to go to the shop every day and interact with the staff there. He has stopped drinking and cut down on the cigarettes. He still refuses to try medication but he is getting better and better every passing day.
Growing up was difficult for me, not only did I have school, friends and puberty to worry about, I had him to worry about. But now I am no longer scared of coming home and finding him on the sofa because he smiles and laughs more. I wouldn’t change my Dad for anything. I am so glad that he is feeling better with himself.