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Welcome back to Polar Warriors, the world’s largest video support community for Bipolar Disorder. I’m so excited today to have my first-ever special guest on the channel. She has known me for over 40 years and is literally the reason why I’m here today making these videos. Without further adue, I’d like to introduce my mom – Sandie Menmuir.
Over the past few weeks, members of our Patreon Community and Facebook have come up with some incredible questions to ask her. In fact, there were so many that we couldn’t include all of them, If you haven’t joined Polar Warriors on Patreon yet, you are missing out on some really good stuff. There’s a direct link in the video description below if you’d like to check it out.
Raising a child with mental illness is hard – to say the least. There is no user manual for it, no one plans on it, and people still aren’t talking very openly about what it’s like. I was diagnosed with Type 1, rapid cycling Bipolar Disorder in my 20’s. That set in motion a chain of life-altering events that not only impacted me, but my family as well. I really hope this video helps some of you out there to not feel so alone. If you have any questions after watching the video, I now offer one-on-one coaching through PolarWarriors.com.
QUESTIONS FROM THE INTERVIEW:
1. How did you react inside when you found out that your son was diagnosed with Mental Illness? Did you blame yourself or feel any regret?
2. My 29 year old son has no interest in taking medications or looking for help. He’s pulled away from the family for many years.
-Were you ever estranged and what did you do to keep your relationship with Rob alive?
-What helped and what made it worse?
3. We have a family history of mental illness and believe our young daughter is showing symptoms. Her behavior is extremely hard to manage. I’ve been to therapists, school counselors, and even county classes on parenting. The schools want to know what I’m doing wrong! They keep asking “what’s going on at home.” My daughter is fine at home, but when she goes to school, everything falls apart. Can you relate to this? Any suggestions?
4. How do you deal with the fear that your child might not survive living with Mental Illness?
5. Have you ever had to call the police or have your son hospitalized against his wishes? How did this impact your relationship and would you do it again?
6. What is one of your biggest regrets when it comes to raising a child with Mental Illness?
7. What are some helpful things people with Bipolar Disorder can do to help maintain healthy relationships with their family?
8. Rob has said that he was in denial for a while. When did you learn about the Bipolar in relation to when Rob found out? Did you know he had Bipolar before he accepted it? If so, how did you approach trying to help him?
9. What differences have you noticed in Rob since he started the Polar Warrior YouTube channel?
10. Did your mom get you involved in any outside activities that helped? My son has difficulties making friends.
11. Does your mom feel like she’s failed you?
12. What can I tell my teenagers and nieces to make them aware of the Bipolar Disorder – before they can suffer from it without knowing?
13. I’d like to know how she coped with your hospital stays/
14. What was your reaction when you found out that your son had Bipolar Disorder and what was your instinct to do about it?
15. How do you feel now about your son’s illness compared to when he was first diagnosed?
16. What is the most significant thing you can do to help your son manage his Bipolar Disorder?
17. Did you notice any signs growing up that were odd?
18. Is there anything your mom regrets about how she dealt with your behavior in light of your diagnosis?
19. At what age did she see certain traits of illness in you?
20. Does your mom have Bipolar and have other family members been diagnosed – like grandparents, great uncle’s, etc?
21. When your son was a baby, did he have any underlying problems like colic?
22. Was she extremely emotional when she was pregnant with you compared to other siblings that don’t have Bipolar Disorder?
23. How do parents differentiate between normal teenage behavior and symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?
24. Did your son excel in hobbies or work or show a certain determination to succeed?
25. My mom wants to keep my illness a secret among her circle of friends. Does your mom feel shameful about your illness? Does she feel “second-hand stigmatized” for having a son with Bipolar Disorder?
26. What were the kinds of things your son was misdiagnosed with before he was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder?
27. What boundaries or self-care does your mom do to make sure she is still able to offer you support without burning herself out?
If you stuck with us to the end of the video, I can’t thank you enough for watching. I also can’t thank my mom enough for her time and openness. It’s not easy to talk about some of this stuff – much less in front of thousands of strangers online. If the video made a positive impact in your life, let us know in the comments. If you have any questions, post those too. We might do a follow-up video in the future if enough of you still have questions. Take gentle care of yourselves this week Warriors. I’ll be back soon for more Polar Warrior videos!
“Raising a child with mental illness is hard – to say the least. There is no user manual for it, no one plans on it, and people still aren’t talking very openly about what it’s like.”
WELCOME TO POLAR WARRIORS: If this is your first time visiting my website or channel, welcome to “the Polar Warrior experience!” My channel is completely dedicated to helping individuals, families, and friends who struggle with, or know someone living with Bipolar Disorder. My goal is to provide actual Bipolar tools and to discuss topics which can potentially help “Polar Warriors” grow to live a more balanced, peaceful, and fulfilling life.
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I hope you realize how much you help me as a spouse and also as a person who has anxiety. I think you’re amazing and I’m so grateful for finding you. If possible, could you possibly talk about bpd patients who isolate from their spouse? We are not mind readers! We love you and we want to help. Refusing to talk to us and completely shutting us out hurts! Intimacy doesn’t have to be sexual! Just a hug or holding my hand or telling me that you are having a hard time is better than closing yourself into the spare bedroom and ignoring me. I keep wondering what I did wrong or why I’m not worth a few minutes of time or effort. I’ve studied this disorder for years, I see my shrink regularly. Talking and communicating is vital. Shutting us out creates distances that make us feel terribly alone and unloved. Thanks for listening
The video with you and your mom was so powerful. Her tips on boundaries, giving up trying to control, and her growth over time gives me hope. Thank you!