My father was a smart man. He got good grades in school, scored high on tests like the ACT and SAT, and had a very charismatic personality that was magnetic to everyone he met. But around his early twenties, I remember that charisma slowly diminishing. His bright mind became muddled, he couldn’t think rationally and sometimes he would have bouts of rage so intense that I would have to hide from him so I would not find myself the outlet for his anger. Then there was the depression. The crippling, weeks-at-a-time depression. During these episodes, he would barely ever be awake. He would go to bed at 8 at night and then lie in bed until 4 pm the next day. And even when he was awake, he wasn’t. He would sit at our kitchen table, vacantly staring off into space while I would try talking to him. He was like a shell of himself. This is what it was like for me growing up with a parent who has Manic-Depressive Disorder, or Bipolar Disorder. Being Manic-Depressive or “Bipolar” does not mean being indecisive or having slight mood swings like people seem to envision. It is a serious disorder that increases the probability of emotional and physical abuse within the families of the affected, and without treatment can inarguably inflict massive amounts of trauma and psychological damage to the children involved.
Manic-Depressive Disorder affects many aspects of people’s lives, but not many seem to truly understand what it is or why it occurs. Well, in an article published by Hillary Blumpberg, a well-known expert in the field, she writes, “Neuroimaging studies demonstrated larger hippocampal and PFC [Prefrontal Cortex] volumes in individuals with [Manic-Depression]…” (Blumpberg, HP). In other words, these regions of the brain that control mood and decision making (the Prefrontal Cortex and Hippocampus) are shaped abnormally or are malformed in brain scans of patients with Manic-Depressive Disorder. These deformities lead to...