Thursday, 16 August 2007

Candidate #8 - Bipolar Bobby

Sarah and I thought long and hard about whether or not to use a donor with bipolar disorder. Bobby, who we met through this blog, is almost everything we would want in a donor - he's attractive, he's smart, he's funny, he's creative and he's charismatic. The only problem is that he suffers from manic depression.

A website suggests that children with a bipolar parent have a 10-15% likelihood of developing the disorder. On the plus side, neither Sarah nor I have any mental health problems so our DNA must be quite strong in that respect.

Whilst we want to give our child the best possible life, we do feel uneasy about seeking a "perfect" donor. Straight people with hereditary illnesses reproduce and have happy, functional children so why shouldn't Bobby? The same goes for our diabetic mate Andy.

Bobby, who takes medication for his illness, claims that manic depression is at worst a bearable inconvenience and at best a blessing that increases his creativity but we're not so sure that other sufferers have such an easy ride. We'd like to hear from people who live with bipolar disorder - how hard is it?

Pros: attractive; smart; funny; creative; charismatic.
Cons: has bipolar disorder.

Verdict: Undecided.


Tom Wootton said...

I wrote two books on Bipolar and have had it for 42 years. I think it is the best thing that ever happened to me and see it as a gift. It is also a huge responsibility that has very serious dangers. If given choice like yours, I suggest reading up on it to better understand what you are getting into.

There is a lot of negative stigma surrounding bipolar, so you will run into tons of it in your research. You need to take it in the same way you would take advice on whether two lesbians should raise a child. It can be a great thing that will change the world or a disaster; just depends on the love and commitment of the parties involved, not on what society thinks.

If you want to begin your research on bipolar, please start with before you hear all the negatives.

Anonymous said...

Don't listen to him. My ex had bipolar disorder and she was in and out of hospital for a year. She only thought it was a gift when she was really manic!

JP said...

there are advantages of bipolar disorder (eg heightened creativity and some aspects of mild highs) but these are by far out weighted by the potential negative consequences (eg depression, alcoholism, bankruptcy, suicide...)

Anonymous said...

I am extremely troubled by Tom's article 'We Are The X-Men'. Whilst I admire the man for trying to find the upside of a difficult condition, I hate to say that his writings hold all the hallmarks of someone suffering from mania. He believes that people with his condition have super powers and should be exploring the highs. Mania is an extremely dangerous condition that should be avoided due to its unpredictable nature and tendency to precede depression. While there's much truth in the article, especially the necessity to get professional help, Tom goes way too far when he says that depression allows him to gain insights into the true meaning of life. Delusions of grandeur are symptomatic of mania; being superhuman is not.

james said...

i agree that it's a gift and I think you'll find that tom adequately covers the dangers

Anonymous said...

I'd be very careful with this - my girlfriend has bipolar disorder and although it has its up sides (creativity, etc) I really wouldn't wish it on anybody. Although I would be happy to have children with a partner with the condition, I would do as much as I possibly could to avoid my children suffering from it.

I also don't like the way some people seem to write lists of pros and cons - as if the advantage of creativity negates suicidal depression.

Good luck to you both in your search for a donor.

Anonymous said...

Bipolar people really piss me off. It's an illness, deal with it. I didn't hear the diabetics going "insulin injections are a real blessing" when the girls ruled out Andy.

sputnik said...

How can you possibly reject 100% healthy "geriatric George" on the grounds that he may not be around long enough to play a part in your child's life, yet seriously consider a donor with a life-threatening illness that could very possibly be passed onto your child, not to mention the risk of "bipolar Bobby" committing suicide - how would you explain that one to your child?

Knowingly taking the (considerable) risk of passing this condition onto your child when it could easily and painlessly be avoided strikes me as completely selfish.

I hope that if you are seriously considering Bobby then you undertake a lot of research into his illness, and maybe you'll think again about potentially inflicting such dreadful suffering on your own offspring.

Alicia said...

We don't want a child with super powers, we just want a happy, healthy child.

Anonymous said...

For gods sake dont do it..!

I know two previous friends who had this disease- and one who had psychotic depression - its been a curse on their entire lives, their families and those close to them (including me!).

Im an empathic individual as the next, but someone with an inheritable major psychiatric illness is imho probably not the best choice of donor when
a) You are not romantically involved with them.
b) You have such an obvious choice of other donors.

As a side note in both individual's cases other individuals in their family suffered from lesser degrees of depression or at least what I would term blunted affect.

If you choose this choice, then be prepared for some very, very long-term consequences that could take decades to stabilize (if they ever do so)...

Margeret Millerson said...

Bipolar, while it does not have to be constantly viewed as a negative disorder, is a pain to deal with. I have learned to deal with my highs and lows through techniques I found at I hope this is helpful to people out there with bipolar.