My children are 16 and 14 now and fairly use to my “episodes”. The guilt still sets in because I feel like sometimes my mental illness has robbed them of a proper childhood…whatever that is. Other times, I feel like it has enhanced their childhood. Let’s face it, living with a mother that has Bipolar Disorder is never boring. I do worry that my manic and depressive episodes have removed me from the family sometimes…like I’m on the outside looking in watching everything happen and I’m not able to do anything about it. It’s not just the “episodes” that seem to take me away. It’s everything else that comes with it…numerous doctor’s appointments, naturopath appointments, suicide prevention charity involvement (because I want to change the world), mental health advocacy (again because I want to change the world). All of these things help in my recovery process, but take a lot of time away from my family. I’ve started to think recently that it is time to “come home”. Time to be family centered again and the other stuff will fall into place. We have such a limited time with our children before they are grown and off to college and starting their own lives. I need to be present while they still need me. I’ve said it before…I am first and foremost a mother and a wife…and then a mental health advocate. I can’t change the world if my own personal world crumbles.