I'm a seventh-grade, teenage girl who happens to have a dad with bipolar disorder. Trust me, it's not easy! Worrying isn't something I particularly enjoy doing and it can be kind of hard not to worry when your own father is in danger of hurting himself.
When I was very young, my father, quite a few times, went away for awhile. He was actually going to the hospital and not just on vacations or business trips as you may have expected. My daddy often had trouble dealing with the pressures of everyday life. He had to go to the hospital sometimes when his medicine wasn't doing its job, which was to help the chemicals in his mind to even out. People with bipolar disorder have trouble containing their emotions. Sometimes the chemicals in him would make him extremely hyper and excited when just something simple made him happy. Then once the chemicals ran out, his emotions plummeted into a dark and melancholy mood. These mood swings of my dad have even caused him to be suicidal. This makes me extremely worried for him.
Yet even with this disorder burdening our family, I have noticed an upside to it all. If my dad didn't have bipolar disorder, I'm not sure he would be the same person he is today. Every little thing that happens or that we do in life adds another building block to the structure of our lives. Even tiny Lego pieces add to our buildings. Without those Lego-sized pieces we would not be exactly the people we are today. The brick-sized pieces of knowledge and experience help a lot, but we all have Legos in our life that we cherish. If my father didn't have bipolar disorder, I wonder if he would still take the time to appreciate the wonders in life.
Dad once explained to me that bipolar disorder is like a train ride. He calls his life "The Bipolar Express," which is sort of a spoof of the movie The Polar Express. This silly little spoof actually explains a lot about bipolar disorder. If you've ever seen the movie, you'll notice how the children on the locomotive experience a thrilling and terrifying roller-coaster type trip to the North Pole. My father showed me how similar that crazy train ride and his emotions are. At some point on the ride you are going up and you begin to feel excited and a feeling of pure ecstasy sweeps its warm and happy self into your heart and soul. Then you look over the edge of the summit and time is suspended for a few moments before the coaster releases and is shoved downhill.
To some people that roller coaster drop is worse than others. Some have a 90-degree angle drop like the new Sheikra roller-coaster at Busch Gardens in Florida. (I'm a big fan!) Others make the turn around a quick curved slope. Others may have a mild slant while some people have a not-so-mild one. These different slopes and steady downward and wild trips downhill happen to those with bipolar disorder.
I've personally noticed that dad has had his horrid "Sheikra" moments, but has also had the not-so-bad mild slants too. Daddy has attempted some insane stunts before. My father has tried to hang himself. When he told me this, my heart bled for him. It hurt me terribly to think that this wonderful character with his unique and human foible aspects that I love so much, my own father, even thought about pulling such an idiotic stunt. He told me that what stopped him from going through with it was the sound of my younger brother and me pounding on the garage door and calling for our dad. (We were much younger then. I don't recall it at all.) He said that he had tried a few time to do it, but then realized how stupid he was being when he heard our cries for him.
Dad is an extremely intelligent, kind, caring, loving, hilarious (like Jim Carrey), and just overall awesome person that I love and care deeply for. He may have bipolar disorder and he may have to take medication for it and all, but he is my father. He is the one who showed me right from wrong, how to be who I am today and how tough it is to have this disorder. It may be hard to deal with, but we get through it. Whoever said life was easy? Whoever said life was fair? Personally, I prefer it that way!