My grief appears when it needs to appear now that I am open to accepting it. I deal with it by writing and talking to my wife and kids. I also deal with it by trying to help others who are experiencing the incredible difficulties of coping with a loved one suffering from mental illness. Things are better now.
We were so pleased that the focus of the recent Didi Hirsch "Erasing the Stigma" event was on mental health in families. This is a topic that is usually on the top of family "secrets" list which made it all the more powerful to hear inspiring stories from celebrities and families who had benefitted from treatment.
Their relentless love is why I am still here. They needed me in their world, so I returned to stability, self-compassion, and most days, even self-love. My children and I talk about the scars on my arms, and those years of my itinerant, unstable motherhood, and their fears for me -- that the bipolar dragon might return and carry me back to its cave.
As an only child, I was always very close with my parents. My mother relied on me solely when she and my father fought. Girl time. Growing up, I always said I'd move next door and live there with her forever and always be her best friend. Now, I live about 10 miles away (if that), but I work full time, pay my own bills, and live with my boyfriend.