I'm hoping to get some advice/thoughts on understanding my mother, who is bipolar. She was not yet diagnosed when I was a kid, so I grew up often thinking I was the cause of her mood swings. If only I could behave better, be nicer, do more chores around the house, etc., then she would be happier. Twenty years later, I'm just now figuring out and trying to convince myself that the rest of us don't cause her bad moods. I'm also trying to understand if some of the things I've dealt with (when dealing with my mom) are somewhat normal or common for bipolar. Do these situations sound familiar to anyone else who is bipolar or has a relative/friend dealing with the disorder?
1. My mom can switch into a bad mood (where she becomes very quiet and antisocial) rather quickly at times. We were having dinner at a restaurant earlier this year. Everything seemed OK at the start of the meal, but by the end of it, she was barely speaking and it made the end of the meal a little strange/awkward. My family and I could not figure out what had changed over the course of the meal.
2. My mom has always had a tendency to ask me the same questions repeatedly. When I was a kid, she would ask me 3 or 4 times daily what kind of homework I had. I would get very impatient and tell her I had already answered that question. Sometimes it almost seemed like she was on autopilot, just asking me questions out of habit, but not really listening to my answer.
3. My mom can remember the smallest details about certain things. She'll tell you the exact details of something that happened to her at the grocery store or at a party or what she ate for dinner at a restaurant. But, then there are other times when she'll completely lose the details -- and it seems like it's often with the details of what other people tell her. She'll remember a little bit of "their story," but get some of it completely wrong. This frightens me (because I worry about her memory). At the same time, I've read that being bipolar can cause issues with memory and attention and concentration. So, if she's in a state where she's having trouble paying attention to what's happening, is this how some events get muddled and others seem perfectly clear?
If you've read this far, thank you for your patience. I haven't always had the easiest time with my mom, and I really am trying to understand more, rather than take things personally (which is what I used to do). Any advice would be most welcome!