What was Laura's personality like growing up?
Laura was most cheerful from the time she was born and later was a very energetic child, even though as a baby to teens the only thing she suffered with was allergies. As a baby, she was very itchy and covered with eczema but woke up each morning with a big smile and then would go go go! As a tween, she was always eager to go to school, had many friends which she maintained from Grade 1 to Grade 13. In high school, she did well, didn't skip school, had the same friends, both guys and girls mixed. She always abided by our curfews and never gave us any grief. From the age of 15 she had entered the work force, part-time, while she was in school, and was employed in long term jobs throughout her whole life.
How did you feel when Laura's late onset Bipolar Disorder set in?
We were devastated. She had taken on so much, she never cried, and we always wondered, not only how much she could take, but when she would break. Her youngest daughter was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, at the age of 9, and had to take the long trip from Northern Ontario to Sick Kids in Toronto for her treatments. We had seen her through a divorce after a long time being very unhappy, reeducating herself in a new career, and moving her two children, as a single mom, to a city where they knew no one, to start her new career. Even with all those burdens, everything still went well; she was happy in her new career, actually loved it, thrived in it. After 3 years in that new role, she was pushed over the edge.
In your opinion, how did Laura's Bipolar Disorder affect her life?
Bipolar Disorder changed my daughter (insert tears and a tissue here). She wasn't the same daughter any longer. The happy-go-lucky, hardworking, mother and daughter was broken. To this day I think it totally devastates her, the fact that she isn't able to work in the field she so fell in love with, because since she was a people person, and in the 21 years combined of her 2 careers, she has ALWAYS wanted to help others. Honestly, each day is a new day and she never knows how she will wake up.
How do you feel society regards those with Bipolar Disorder and other Mental Illnesses?
People are clueless as they are uneducated, uninformed, and don't know what people with Bipolar Disorder or Mental Illnesses go through on a daily basis. I think they can only understand the impact it has if a loved one, or close friend, has it. I think it has such a great impact on their life as a whole; socially, working, family, friendships, marriage etc. In closing, as my daughter once told me, in a very sweet embrace, (insert more tears here) "I will never be that same sweet girl". She feels a big part of her has died.
What have been the major factors that have contributed to Laura's constant improvement?
HARD WORK! and the love and support of everyone her heart touches; her husband, children, mother, father, sister, and a few choice friends. Plus, Laura's diligence on a DAILY basis to work towards a healthier mind and body through rest, diet, meditation, and most of all being med compliant. She has to ultimately help herself but she has unconditional love and support.
What advice can you give to someone who's child has Bipolar Disorder or a Mental Illness?
You can't fix their disorder. They have to work on themselves but you can stand by their side, listen, LEARN, and be there for them.
Laura Marchildon will blog honest and true posts about her real life experiences.