Together, we are possibility.

Taking Care of Yourself to Care for Others

Gisele“Shortly after my daughter started her Ph.D. in psychology in 2001, I noticed that she had become anxious all the time, and was getting worse. I remember one incident in particular when she called me, paralyzed with panic, and I had to go pick her up. She was hospitalized, and after months of tests, we got the diagnosis: bipolar disorder.

I was shocked and in disbelief. I had no idea what to do. When my daughter was in a manic state, she wouldn't sleep. She walked around constantly and lost weight. As a health care professional—I’m a retired speech-language pathologist—I knew I needed to ask for help right away. But when it comes to your own child, you feel completely powerless.

 

At first, I looked for help mainly for my daughter. After I found support for her, I had the time to look for support for myself. I gained a better understanding of what people with a mental illness are feeling. That helped me put myself in my daughter’s shoes. 


I also learned how to let go. This doesn’t mean you are giving up, but rather that you accept the situation. I learned how to tell my daughter that I was exhausted and that I couldn’t always be strong. She then started paying attention to me, just like I paid attention to her. Our relationship has always been good, but this helped us communicate and work together even more.

Today, my daughter is doing much better. Bipolar disorder will always be part of our lives, but now we know how to live with it."

- Gisèle

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