Dick: Family Connections

Several decades before Stuart was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Dick’s mother was given the same diagnosis. Dick explained, “It wasn’t a total surprise to the family.” Also, he believes his father experienced PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) after serving in World War II. Their mother was first hospitalized when Dick was 13 years of age. He remembers feelings of embarrassment, shame, and grief. When Stuart became ill, Dick tried not to think about it.

When Marion, Dick's partner, asks him about how Stuart is doing, he prefers not to talk about it. He tells her, “Don’t ask me about it." He explained, "When I come home, I don’t want to think about it." He views his home as a refuge where he avoids thinking about his brother’s crises.

Dick explained that he has moved beyond the stigma part of mental illness. He will talk about it with extended family members when they ask. He is very disappointed with his four other siblings, who although he has asked them to call Stuart, do not follow through. Dick referred to the education materials from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) that point out outcomes are better with family and friend involvement.

More of the Story: Coping Strategies