Family History along with recent connections between Mental Diseases, such as bipolar disorder (BD) and Autism may help family members understand and seek treatment.
Recently, GetThrive ran an article on a possible connection between autism and bipolar disorder (BD). You can find that story here. The piece details a study that uncovered links between BD and autism and schizophrenia, and touches on how “highly heritable” BD is considered to be within the psychiatric community.

Bipolar Disorder

For those unaffected by BD, this may have seen like just another story. If BD doesn’t affect you or anyone you have a relationship with, it can be hard to identify with the hardships associated with the condition.
For one father, things aren’t so simple. In an awfully transparent piece, Kevin Hall discusses the way BD impacts, not only himself, but also the lives of his loved ones.
Hall discusses how his sadness manifests itself in a crippling fashion. How routine tasks like preparing his children’s lunches for school prove difficult because of overwhelming depression.
He shares details of feeling like he regularly fails to come through for his kids. When he is unable (due to his condition) to provide basic answers to their questions, he feels terrible about himself.
In a heart-wrenching moment of bitter honesty, Hall says,

There are the weekends, when life should be a celebration. But, it takes every ounce of my squeezed soul to get out of bed. And, it shows.

Sleepless nights. A society that tells him he should be happy 24/7. And unrealistic portrayals of others with his condition in movies and tv shows. Each of these examples represents very real day-to-day struggles for Kevin, and many others who suffer with one form of mental illness or another.
The thing is, trying harder doesn’t have much of an impact. Mental illness isn’t something you can just “fix.” What can help is a support group of close friends and family who will walk the path together. Opening up to a trained professional is recommended as well.

No Longer Taboo

For many years, the topic of mental illness was somewhat of a taboo – relegated to quiet talks in the corners of rooms. Thankfully, organizations like To Write Love On Her Arms have brought the conversation to light – especially for young adults. No longer does mental illness have to live among the shadows.
If you know of someone struggling with depression or another form of mental illness, don’t abandon them. Be present. Be available. You don’t have to know all the answers to direct them to people who can help. Be the support system they need. Just letting them know they aren’t alone is as important a first step as there is.