My sister did something very brave in her blog, today. She told the world what is happening in her family. She shared in her own way the effects of bipolar disorder on family life.
The short version of the story is that Tony, her other half, who has bipolar disorder, is now in jail. He took care of the kids so that she could work. This leaves her unable to work and pushes the families’ finances further into the red.
I love my sister. We share so much more than blood. We are both fiercely stubborn and independent. Reading is not just an escape for us it is essential for our happiness. Our passions guide our lives. Mine is for writing and my sister’s passion is for her children and building a future for her family. We both firmly believe that mental illness is just as serious as a physical illness and should not be used as an excuse for ones actions.
The stigma of living with a mental illness has only increased over the last few years. People fear seeking treatment or admitting that they are in treatment because of the consequences. It isn’t a small thing to lose your job and possibly your career. People in security and military fields face such decisions, get treatment or lose the security clearance that enables them to do their jobs. Many have pushed for laws that would prevent people with depression from owning a gun. Right or wrong it pushes more people to the edge, not wanting to admit they need help and lose their guns.
People with depression and other mental illnesses are not broken. We, yes, we are doing the best that we can to make our lives and the lives of our families better.
In a time when so much can be done to help of live, love and thrive, we are being pushed back into the closet. Back into believing that we are less than others. We need more pathways to treatment not less.
Because people with depression don’t live in isolation; we have families. And they pay when we don’t treat our illnesses.