Yesterday, with my head still foggy from sleep I picked up the laptop and typed with reckless abandon. I think it is in these vulnerable states we are the most honest. In this eyes-half closed flow I spilled the beans on a family secret that upset some close to me. Being from the South, we don't like our business all out in the open. I did not do it to upset anyone. The beautiful out pour of comments has inspired me to turn this coming out into a learning experience...suppose you can't turn off the teacher switch.
Many in my family from this generation are bipolar. Although we felt we were alone there are over 5.7 million adult Americans that have been given this diagnoses. That is 2.6% of the population. (National Institute of Metal Health) The average age that people are diagnosed is 25, guess my sister was an early bloomer. Unlike other illnesses this is a disease that does not discriminate- spread equally among races and between the sexes it is number six in debilitating illnesses according to the World Health Organization.
The most intriguing facet of being bipolar is the link that patients have to the arts. This could be why when my sister was withdrawn she sketched, painted and created even if she didn't talk. The list is surprisingly long of well known artist that are afflicted.
What can you do to help? Be a friend. Be forgiving of the random odd statement. Be there for them. Love them at every stage in the cycle no matter how challenging they might make it. Listen when they need it. Be there for family because even though we get frusterated we still love them.