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Cyclothemia,Bi-Polar past in genes?
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Welcome to the Mood Disorders Forum. Questions in this forum are being answered by Peter Forster, MD and topics covered are anxiety, bipolar, depression, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and stress.

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Cyclothemia,Bi-Polar past in genes?

I have Cyclothemia and a grandson who is 15 and BiPolar. My son feels I am to blame for his condition,
How can I answer that? Can you help me what to say to that? If I can inform him?
Tags: cyclothemia, Bipolar, genes, help me
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I am curious what he is blaming you for - having children, having him? That is a pretty bleak view of things and would make me wonder if he is depressed. If he is depressed you may find that there isn't much that you can say.
Assuming he isn't blaming you for having any children I guess he is blaming you for the genes you passed on to your children, including him... Which is odd when you think about it since we have no control over that.
It might make sense to do some reading about cyclothymia and bipolar from a non-disease based perspective. My friend Tom Wootton has done some writing about the bipolar trait and the benefits it confers (creativity, a fuller emotional range) and you might check out his website http://www.bipolaradvantage.com/ . The point he is making, which seems confirmed by what we know about the genetics of bipolar, is that there are good things as well as very bad things associated with bipolarity.
Also, the bad things associated with bipolarity can mostly be treated. Getting good treatment can be hard, especially for a 15 year old. I think that your son's anger could usefully be channeled into getting your grandson good help. I often say to people with depression that living well is the best revenge... Or to put it another way, making sure that things turn out well, after all the pain and struggle, makes a huge difference in how depression and bipolar is viewed.
Hope that some of this was helpful....
3 Comments
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He may be going through part of the grief cycle.  Mental illnesses can be associated with many losses.  I think it may be normal to be angry and to want to blame someone.  This may help them to feel more in control and to feel less powerless.

Even if it is due to genetic influence how are you expected to take responsibility for that.  It's not like it was something you chose or chose to pass on.  Do you then go and blame your parents/ grandparents, etc?

Blame isn't actually very constructive.  While we may have an illness that we may not want we are the ones who have to manage it/ work through it.

It sounds like your son is having a hard time accepting his son's illness and what that means to him.

I expect his ?anger will lessen in time.  Some education/ psycho-education round the illness could be helpful.

My parents perceived my mental illness to be a criticism of them and their parenting.  Having a son who is bipolar doesn't make him a bad or defective parent.

Hopefully the doctor can help you with this one.
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I found the doctor's response rather thought provoking.
When I was unwell I felt defective and felt that people were blaming me for everything.
There were times when I desperately wished that I had never been born and not have to deal with the emotional pain and there were times when I wanted to lash out and hurt others as much as I was hurting myself.
The difficult thing is accepting that you can't go back and change the past.  It would have been nice had I been raised in a different environment or that there had of been early intervention.  Ultimately, it is these experiences that help define us.  We can choose to view them positively or negatively.  I have found the negative path very overwhelming and leading nowhere but down.
There was a saying I heard that was said to apply to mental health, "It can either make you bitter or better".  Bitterness just eats you up and tears you apart.

Just from a personal perspective I haven't had much joy from the living well.  For my treatment team that meant that I must be doing well and be needing less support.  It can feel alienating to be striving but not having the skills or resources to back that up.
I think mh professionals attitudes can make a huge difference as to how things are perceived.  I think some staff become frustrated by the chronic nature of some illnesses and attack patients for their perceived lack of progress.  Just my thoughts.

It was just interesting to learn that perhaps some of my negative thoughts about life, etc were because I was experiencing low mood.
Lately I have been thinking that I have been a waste of time and space but feel that maybe there is a role in mh here for me.  I think mh issues should be seen as opportunities for growth and development.

I expect your son wouldn't blame you if it were a physical condition or at least not to the extent he is now.  I think he is just picking on something that he can't tolerate.  I expect he sees aspects in his son that he currently finds challenging.
I would probably advise patience too.  You son may just need time to process things.
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