My Dad and My Mental Illness

There are some defining moments in my life that I will always remember. My dad was a big part of a lot of those moments.

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  • I remember the day I left my home to move eight hours away against my parents’ wishes. I remember my dad’s face. I remember what he said to me. I remember how much I hurt him.
  • I also remember the first time I saw him when I came home to visit. I remember how shocked I was when I realized he still loved me – even after everything I did.
  • I remember the time I came home without warning to surprise my family (and because I finally realized I needed my parents in my life). I remember how he cried (don’t tell him I told you that) when my mom woke him up and told me I had come home.
  • I remember how quiet he was as he stood against the wall in that hospital room, staring at me, trying to sort out how I got to the place where I didn’t want to live anymore.
  • I remember how calm and firm he was when he sat down with my mom and I to make some rules that I would need to follow while living with them with my Bipolar Disorder.
  • I remember how cautious and caring he was when I had my first manic scare after moving home. How he made sure I put my mental health first – before everything else.

My dad is there for me in a different way than other people when it comes to my mental illness. Maybe it’s because he’s a man and apparently men want to fix things; but my bipolar disorder isn’t something he can fix. But my dad is there for me when it comes to other things.

  • He was there to support me through my last year and a half of school.
  • He was there when I was having trouble dealing with people.
  • He was there when work got tough.
  • He was there for me when I needed someone to call me out on not taking care of myself.
  • He was there when I needed someone else to make the hard decision so I wouldn’t have to.

If there’s something I’ve learned about my father in the past two years, it’s that he will always love me. He isn’t afraid to call me to the matt when I’m making bad decisions. And most importantly, he will fight for me – even if I’m kicking and screaming that I don’t need it. He will always be there for me. And that’s more than I could ever ask for in a dad.

Thank you dad, for loving me through all my imperfections and not giving up on me when I gave up on myself. I love you.

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