your wildest dreams

My daughter told me that when she dreams of me, I am always angry, volatile, moody, or closed off emotionally. She said she can’t remember a dream where I was happy or supportive. I didn’t tell her, but it made me very sad.

I have struggled to be a father to my two kids despite having bipolar, and I’m afraid it hasn’t worked out very well. During the first half of their lives I was completely uncontrolled, and I brought chaos and instability to their lives. After my diagnosis I was doing a better job of managing my illness, but I was also very absent emotionally (and physically at times).

I think the biggest change is in my level of anger that I brought with me since childhood. I love my family very much, but I was so angry that it was damaging my relationships, nearly to the breaking point. At the same time I have been mostly depressed due to the bipolar, and the combination of angry bipolar was very chaotic for me and my family. This was the environment my kids grew up in, and they learned their behaviors partly from me.

It has taken me 40 years to release the pent-up feelings that were so toxic earlier in life. I think I am in a much more accepting place with respect to my past experiences. I have finally learned to allow what happened to remain in the past. Unfortunately there was damage done that I can never undo. The best I can do is move forward and try to be a better person for my adult children.

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day 32

Nothing good comes from discussing politics with family. The same is true with religion. Just avoid the conversation for another 6 weeks.

The in-laws talked to Mrs. Fish about if we were okay with staying here until March. This conversation happens weeks too late, but whatever. My wife told them as nicely as she could that we are both introverts who need quiet time to recharge and relax. He tries to accept that, but after a couple of days he goes back to being the helicopter brother-in-law. He hovers and tries too hard to make things okay in return for occupying my spot on the couch for 9 weeks.

Then there is the whole third-rail conversation we can’t have. I am so fucking pissed off at America right now, and the in-laws are part of the problem. They use social services, but they vote for people who will restrict or take those services away. They don’t have much money, but they vote for people who plan to redistribute wealth from the middle class to the wealthy. They have been on and off health insurance, and their kids have mental health issues, but they vote for people who will allow the insurance companies to take coverage away.

Then they ask me if everything is okay when I get home, and can’t understand why I hide in the bedroom for hours at a time.