I feel I have arrived in the DBSA society. I have now been asked to run small groups and have done so effectively (in my opinion) three times now. I am not a natural leader nor do I have much desire to control other people but nevertheless the groups have run smoothly under my watch. I feel rather foolishly proud.
Lately I've been thinking about children. I'm 31 and at some point I suppose I should decide one way or the other if I'm going to have my own or not. Selfishly, I like the idea of having more people in the world that look like me. I'm reasonably intelligent and attractive, genetically I think children of my own would be productive members of society. However, I have this little bipolar disorder issue. It's a genetic disorder and someone in my family somewhere must have it, I'm just not sure who. Certainly no one in my family has been diagnosed, but I digress.
The issue is really the likelihood of passing it on to my children if I choose to have them. My psychiatrist thinks I should go ahead and have children, and so do my parents. I'm undecided myself. The fact is, I wouldn't wish this disorder on anyone. Sure, with medicine and therapy and so on it can be controlled, but that isn't really what I'm worried about. I'm worried about the years leading up to a diagnosis and how painful and disruptive they can be.
Bipolar Disorder for me is under control for now, but there's that nagging what if. What if I don't sleep enough and I end up in the hospital? What if I forget to take my medications? What if some major life event triggers me? It's an unpleasant way to live. On the other hand, it is a life and do I want to deny life to others?
There's no guarantee that my children will experience bipolar disorder exactly the same as I do. While there seem to be similarities in how people experience the mental illness, ultimately it's a very individualized disorder.
Is my desire for children selfish? Perhaps I should just adopt or raise foster children. I could still contribute to society as a whole that way. Perhaps this is even silly to discuss, I've never been pregnant anyway, who knows if I even can have children.