Monday, November 5, 2007

Another book about bipolar mother

A friend of mine recently gave me another book written by the daughter of a bipolar mother. Sights Unseen by Kay Gibbons written in 1995. It was an uncanny story very similar to mine. I predict that if all the daughters of bipolar mothers wrote a book about their experiences, their stories would all be the same. The disorder of bipolar treats everyone the same with no discrepencies. The people are all diverse, but the unrelenting disorder is very stable in it's characteristics. Exerpt from her book, "If I had a little girl, I thought, I would look at her and discover ways to ground myself. I would find reasons to move out of the haze and into the clearing, where a husband, a son, and a daughter could see me fully and welcome me. If I had a daughter as needy for my love as I was for her, I could, I thought, will myself to be well for her sake. But Mother did not find that inspiration in me. Her illness, manic depression, was beyond her control. I mourned the inability to change her, to restore her." When I was a small girl, and actually into my adult years, 46 years to be exact; I prayed everyday for God to heal my mother of this illness. But I realized after all those years that this illness was stronger even than God. After all that time in prayer, I started to question the brainwashing I received in my youth of prayer being the answer to all problems. I was told, of course, that your prayers weren't answered because it wasn't God's will. Well, if after 46 years of prayer, it all boils down to what God wants anyway, then what is point in asking for what I want.


Jessica said...


I just came across your blog. I am the daughter of a bipolar mother and after 12 years of this, have never spoken to someone in a similar situation. I am trying to find a way to find happiness for myself even if my mom never decides to help herself. I'd like to find others to hear how they cope. How do you manage? I've always wanted to write a book but it seems like it wouldn't be that original afterall.

Best wishes.

Liz said...

Jessica, Glad to see you found me. There is a lot of advice I can give, but I will start with one small one and we can progress as we continue to correspond. It took me literally years to embrace the fact that bipolar illness was not happening to me. I think as women we take receive things in a very emotional way, and more so when our role model, i.e. our mothers are on an emotional roller coaster. We as the daughters inherently feel like we should mimic our mothers behavior, who else are we learning about life from anyway, especially at an early age. Remember that bipolar is not who YOU are, it is just something that happened in your life/past. Your mothers illness does not define you, so step back from being emotionally involved with it. Work on that and we will talk more, you will be happy because you choose to be. Liz

Kelly Hand said...

I realize I am reading this post almost four years after you wrote it, but your point about all bipolar stories being the same resonated with me. Undoubtedly, there are common narrative strands because the symptoms of the illness show remarkable consistency. However, I think each person has a unique story to tell. Having always wanted to write about my experience as the daughter of a bipolar mother, I decided to conflate that story with another story I wanted to tell--about au pairs and host families in Washington, DC. This is partly because straight tales of mental illness can be a downer in spite of the funny moments. By using Au Pair Report to tell both ordinary and extraordinary stories, I am hoping to attract readers who would otherwise avoid a novel about mental illness. Hope you keep up with your blog.