Okay, okay, it was just a letter to the editor, but still... It makes me happy. Especially when my response was as passionate as this one. After reading the article, I sat down almost immediately and wrote my email to Parents magazine. It isn't unusual for me to disagree about the contents of media articles. ((And voice those disagreements vehemently to my husband...who just nods his head)). But this article...
I originally wrote this post containing my letter to the editor. I'm going to repost here to make for easier reading. I'll show you my original letter, then what they actually printed.
I just got done reading the article, “Visiting William” by an Anonymous writer in the May 2011 issue of Parents magazine. My heart breaks for the mother who had to watch her child yo-yoed around by a father suffering from bipolar disorder. I was moved to tears for the little girl after reading of their last meeting. Still, I feel moved to share another side with you. I sincerely wish that you would have (or in the future) include a story further exploring the life of bipolar parents. On behalf of many bipolar parents (and readers, I’m sure) I feel it necessary to clear the air for those who aren’t necessarily familiar with the disorder and all it entails. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and chronic depression when I was 22 years old. Since then, the fight against the stigma society holds has been hard. There have been times I have brought up my disorder and have seen the person visibly cringe. Being bipolar isn’t something I would have chosen for myself. One can’t change the fact that they are bipolar any easier than a redhead can change their freckles or a basketball player can alter their foot size. It’s all in how we’re “wired.” There are many of us who, with the help of medications, are well-adjusted, properly balanced and able to have secure, strong, affectionate relationships with our children. Life with bipolar disorder isn’t always the way popular culture sees it: a rollercoaster at an amusement park. With the help of medications, life for me is more like a drive through the country. There are some dips and peaks, but for the most part, I’m able to sit back and enjoy the ride.
What They Printed
My heart broke for the mom who wrote "Visiting William." Still I wanted to offer a different perspective on biploar disorder; I was diagnosed with it and depression at 22. But like so many other parents, with the help of medications I'm able to have a great relationship with my kid. It's not always the roller-coaster ride people envision it to be. My life is more like a drive through the country; there are some dips and peaks, but I'm still able to relax and enjoy the ride.
So yeah. I said my piece on living with bipolar disorder as I experience it. And I realize now that there was no hesitation, no embarrassment about what I was writing. After living with the shame and stigma of my diagnosis for years, it's very freeing to realize that I'm letting go of it.
Perhaps it's because I no longer wish for it to dominate my life.
Perhaps I've finally grown into myself.