Life With Mentally Ill Child Has Taught Me How to Cope

September 6, 2011 Angela McClanahan

So...where do I begin?

I've had a lot on my plate lately--strangely enough, not directly Bob-related (although he always has a major role in our family dramas). Oddly enough, I believe my experiences with Bob over the past 9+ years have helped me in weathering the storms.
A couple of weeks ago, my husband told me that after almost six years of marriage, he was no longer "in love with" me and wanted out. Although a variety of issues were brought up, in the forefront was the chaos and tension of living in a house with Bob, my child who lives with bipolar disorder and ADHD.

The revelation hit me like a ton of bricks. I spent the next two weeks grateful for waterproof mascara and asking myself (and anyone who couldn't escape me quickly enough) all kinds of questions--what did I do wrong? What could I do to fix this? If I couldn't fix it, what was I going to do next? How could I have been too blind to see this coming?

If life with Bob has taught me anything, however, it's this: bad stuff happens. When it does, you have a choice: curl up in a ball and die and to hell with everyone else involved (like your children); or suck it up, adapt, and live, knowing that someday, it will occur to you that the crisis has passed, and--what do you know?--you survived. Maybe not completely unscathed, but alive.
A few days ago, anger came to the party. I usually spend my time deflecting anger (either Bob's or someone else's directed at Bob), but I understand now it sometimes serves a positive purpose. In this case, it nudged me out of my melancholy and said, "yes, this sucks, but if it's happening, we have stuff to do." Anger kicked my survival instinct into high gear. And although I wasn't necessarily happy--I knew I would (eventually) come out of this situation on the other side.

At the moment, things are in a kind of "limbo" state--no definite decisions have been made and there is hope we can work things through. As with just about everything else, I'm hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. Whatever happens, I know I will get through it, and do the best I can to help my boys get through it, as well.

Like Rhoda Morgenstern, we might just make it after all.

APA Reference
McClanahan, A. (2011, September 6). Life With Mentally Ill Child Has Taught Me How to Cope, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 18 from

Author: Angela McClanahan

Angela E. Gambrel Lackey
September, 8 2011 at 5:56 am

I'm so sorry to hear about the struggles you have been going through. My marriage also has definitely suffered because of my struggles with anorexia, and may be ending after 15 years. I know the pain you must be feeling, but I really admire your strength and it makes me feel perhaps I can find the strength within me to move on, survive, and eventually thrive.
Please take loving care of yourself during this time. I will be praying for you.
Angela E. Lackey
Surviving ED

Chrisa Hickey
September, 8 2011 at 5:45 am

I'm hoping for the best for you, whatever you feel the best is for you and Bob. It is hard on marriages, friendships, and all other personal relationships. I've seen friends come and go, family come and go. Hang in there, and thanks for sharing.

September, 7 2011 at 3:29 pm

Thank you for sharing that. :( I'm sure things will work out for you as you have a wonderful attitude. It will encourage other's in similar situations.

Leave a reply