Dear Kitt

Kitt, you fuel your rage by seeing a psychoanalysist one to three times a week, exploring over and over how you had been abused as a child. You deepen your depression by studying psychodynamic theory in graduate school. Doing so defeats you and undermines your mental health. Yes, therapy will enable you to work through issues you have with your parents, but what is left unsaid is the fact that your parents love you.

Of course they are not perfect. Nobody is perfect. We are all “dysfunctional” to some extent or another. Yes, it is difficult to grow up in an alcoholic household, but your family loves YOU. Believe me, loving you is quite difficult.

Do not defensively rage against your father when he suggests that “wouldn’t it be great if you could just take a pill and feel better.” He was right. He merely suggested a medical solution to your long-standing struggle with depression, and you jumped all over him.

Your bipolar disorder, what was then diagnosed as depression and interpreted as aggression turned inward against yourself, is not caused by abusive parenting. You have a biological disorder of the brain. You did yourself no favors by smoking pot from seventeen years-old to the time you completely came undone at thirty. You did yourself no favors by taking shrooms, dropping acid, or on one particularly stupid occasion snorting cocaine. You did yourself no favors by drinking alcohol. You damaged your fragile brain. You may very well have tipped the balance.

Your childhood was not perfect. No one’s is. Your parents have had their own struggles. Now you know, mood disorders are genetic and often self-medicated with alcohol. Working with families as a therapist, you learned compassion for your parents. You saw the love these parents had for their children as they struggled to parent them. You shook your head when staff vilified adoptive parents of children with severe mental health and behavioral issues. You knew it was not the adoptive parents’ fault that their children had brain disorders, in utero exposure to alcohol and drugs, or extreme child abuse and neglect by others. Still, clinical staff judged the desperate adoptive parents rather than show compassion and offer support.

Kitt, if only you had used your Kaiser insurance for mental health treatment, rather than pay out of pocket to see an analyst. If only you had seen a psychiatrist at a younger age, your life would have been different. You would have properly cared for your fragile brain earlier in your life. Your loved ones would have been spared your rages and mood swings. Perhaps. Perhaps, to some extent. Then again, perhaps not.

I cannot change the past. I can only move forward from here. I must forgive the Kitt who blamed her parents rather than see a medical doctor. To all the many therapists who saw me and never recommended that I see a psychiatrist, what were you thinking? They, too, I must forgive, for I did not “look bipolar” as I’ve been told on more than one occasion. My worst behavior is reserved for those I love the most.

Kitt, forgive me for not being proactive, for not taking care of your brain, for blaming others for something over which they had little to no control.

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38 thoughts on “Dear Kitt

  1. Karen B November 2, 2015 / 10:21 pm

    It is so easy, and so unhelpful, to coulda, woulda, shoulda yourself. We all do what makes sense at the time. It is a God-given gift to extend compassion toward our younger (whether 40 year or 40 days past) selves.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sandra November 2, 2015 / 9:06 pm

    Love this. So true. And yeah, not looking like your bipolar does cause therapists somewhat of an issue as I’ve also come to learn.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. freudandfashion November 2, 2015 / 7:58 am

    Hi Kitt, just wanted to say that I love your openness and the vulnerability u share in this post.

    Vania

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bipolarsojourner November 1, 2015 / 8:14 pm

    kitt,

    I feel for you. I so easily to see the wrong that has happened and use that to batter ourselves. that only causes even more pain I feel for your pain.

    perhaps, do a rewrite taking a look at the many things you have done right. I can only imagine there are a plenty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley November 2, 2015 / 10:41 am

      I have definitely done things right, as well. Interesting idea.

      Like

  5. Pieces of Bipolar November 1, 2015 / 6:54 pm

    Wow Kit, what a truly powerful post and very close to home for me. We could very well have been leading parallel lives. Absolutely I was just as difficult to be around as my parents were through their own struggles. Self abuse and definitely self medication with drugs and mostly alcohol were prominent in my teens and early twenties. I love your use of “fragile mind”. It inspires to me take extra care with myself, to be gentle and considerate. I’m grateful you mention your rages. Rages have been one of the symptoms I’ve struggled with for many years. They shame me endlessly. But I’m grateful I have not been alone in my struggle. I’m adopting your wise words “I can’t change my past, I can only move forward” as a new personal mantra. Your letter of self-love and forgiveness will become a powerful tool in your own journey of healing, and I wish you smooth travelling. You have a courageous and kind heart and I feel inspired to write my own letter to myself. Thank you Kitt!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley November 2, 2015 / 10:37 am

      Thank you. I think that we too often gloss over the less savory behaviors bipolar disorder can lead to – rage and abuse, for example. We must hold ourselves accountable for our behavior and not blame either others or dismiss it as symptomatic. Perhaps rage is a topic I should attack in a post.

      Like

  6. bipolarfirst November 1, 2015 / 4:46 pm

    Yes…we should all think about this…a letter to ourself…wow…thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Maria F. November 1, 2015 / 4:37 pm

    I really liked your video Kitt; how easy it was for me to blame my parents too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley November 1, 2015 / 4:40 pm

      Many therapists are trained that it’s the parents fault. Not helpful for biological brain disorders. Not compassionate if the disorder may be intergenerational.

      Like

  8. vanbytheriver November 1, 2015 / 4:30 pm

    We should all write a letter to self that is this candid. Well done, Kitt, I am hoping it was as therapeutic to you as it was helpful to all you share it with here. Wishing you the best. 💕

    Liked by 3 people

    • Kitt O'Malley November 1, 2015 / 4:35 pm

      Thank you, Van. My mother called concerned that I had thought myself abused as a child. I reassured her that my point was that I was not abused.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Just Plain Ol' Vic November 1, 2015 / 4:28 pm

    Reblogged this on Just Plain Ol' Vic and commented:

    This is a very raw and brutally honest letter about being bi-polar, acknowledging your past and making peace with it to secure your future.

    Thank you Kitt for having the courage to post this!

    Like

  10. dyane November 1, 2015 / 3:58 pm

    You never cease to inspire me with your raw honesty, your vulnerability and the profound insights you’ve gained from your very full life’s challenges.

    I got so much out of the visual & audio mediums you used in this blog post. The audio portion gives such life to your words, which are excellent & articulate to begin with, and your letter reaches me more deeply, if that makes any sense. I know it will affect & help many others like me who have poignant feelings about the way our lives have turned out.

    The cadence of your voice, the humor you express through that little chuckle you had while discussing the druggie time, the passion behind it all….I not just admire you- I love you, my friend, “issues” and all!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. dianetharp70 November 1, 2015 / 3:39 pm

    Hmmm,,, WOW, I did that same 20 yrs alcohol/weed daily, coke 1-2 times month & periodic psychedelics. +self meditating? YES. multiple mental illness diagnoses? YES. PTSD? YEP, me too. Hugs. No wait. BIG HUGS!!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. e November 1, 2015 / 3:39 pm

    I watched the video and read this in its entirety. Although the “comments” section is here, there are times when I feel it’s intrusive to say anything…I just wanted to honor your transparency and thank you for sharing. The honor is mine🌺

    Liked by 4 people

    • Kitt O'Malley November 1, 2015 / 4:31 pm

      Never intrusive to say anything, e. Your feedback is always welcome. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • e November 1, 2015 / 4:34 pm

        Thank you for that…CyberHugs times a million Kitt💞💜💞

        Liked by 1 person

  13. mythoughts62 November 1, 2015 / 3:38 pm

    Good post. It speaks to me.

    The part about adoptive (and foster) parents of kids with special needs facing snide attitudes really hit home. We foster and adopt special needs teenagers (7 adopted or pre-adoptive, fostered over 30) and the attitudes we’ve gotten from some people, including professionals is really irritating. They’re probably worse behind our backs. I know that wasn’t the real focus of the post, but it got my attention.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Kitt O'Malley November 1, 2015 / 4:30 pm

      You have my sympathy. I know what they say behind the adoptive and foster parents’ backs, and it’s awful. Unfortunately, it comes with the training – both psychodynamic and family systems theory.

      Parents – birth, foster or adoptive – are owed compassion. Our job is tremendously difficult.

      Like

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