The American actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman made the following observation:
To have that concentration to act well is like lugging things up staircases in your brain. I think that’s a thing people don’t understand. It is that exhausting. If you’re doing it well, if you’re concentrating the way you need to, if your will and your concentration and emotional and imagination and emotional life are all in tune, concentrated and working together in that role, that is just like lugging weights upstairs with your head..And I don’t think that should get any easier.
The gentleman was talking about acting but I’ve thought of his remarks when trying to describe what it’s like to be the caregiver for a bipolar person.
Now, the conditions of one family with a bipolar person is going to be different from another. In my case, there’s the lurking fear that my estranged stripper sister will emerge from infernal dis and clean my mother out; this adds to the weights in my head.
So, yes, being the caregiver of a bipolar parent is like lugging weights upstairs in your head.
I think the most frustrating thing is the sheer unpredictability of it all. From sentence to sentence you don’t know if they’re going to be reasonable, or find out that the tax papers have been thrown out and you need to take another half day off work to get copies. Again.
People who’ve no experience with the severely mentally ill find it difficult to conceptualize. Imagine Woody from cheers having control over your finances. Now, imagine the agony of that going on for years. It’s never good, there is always just the pauses between the next crisis.